Skip to main content

Full text of "Ulysses S. Grant; his life and character"

See other formats



NEW   YORK   •    BOSTON   •    CHICAGO    •   DALLAS 






U.  S.  Grant,  age  60  years. 
From  a  photograph  by  Fredricks. 









Copyright,  1898,  by 


HPHIS  book  is  not  to  be  taken  as  a  military  history  of 
JL  General  Grant.  It  is  not,  perhaps,  everything  that  is 
understood  by  the  word  "  biography,"  but  it  tells  the  story 
of  Ulysses  Grant  from  his  birth  to  his  death.  It  is  an  at 
tempt  at  characterization.  It  has  not  been  my  intention 
to  set  down  all  the  significant  words  and  deeds  of  General 
Grant,  nor  to  analyze  all  the  official  acts  of  President  Grant, 
but  to  present  the  man  Grant  as  he  stands  to-day  before 
unbiased  critics.  If  I  succeed  in  making  the  reader  a  little 
better  acquainted  with  his  great  and  singular  character,  I 
shall  feel  that  my  larger  purpose  has  been  carried  out. 

In  order  that  I  might  secure  the  fullest  understanding 
of  my  subject,  I  have  visited  every  town  wherein  Ulysses 
Grant  lived  long  enough  to  leave  a  distinct  impression 
upon  its  citizens.  This  search  for  first-hand  material  took 
me  at  the  start  to  southern  Ohio,  to  Georgetown,  his  boy 
hood  home,  and  to  Ripley,  and  to  Maysville,  Kentucky, 
where  he  attended  school  in  'his  youth.  I  also  studied  the 
records  on  file  in  the  adjutant's  office  at  West  Point,  and 
the  newspaper  files  in  Washington,  St.  Louis,  New  York, 
Cincinnati,  Detroit,  Louisville,  Chicago,  Springfield,  Ga 
lena,  Cairo,  Memphis,  Vicksburg,  New  Orleans,  Richmond, 
Monterey,  and  Mexico  City.  In  all  of  these  cities  I  sought 
for  and  obtained  interviews  from  those  who  had  known 
Ulysses  Grant  personally  and  had  some  significant  message 
to  impart. 

In  order  to  realize  the  Mexican  battle-fields,  I  visited 
Monterey,  Vera  Cruz,  Jalapa,  Perote,  Puebla,  Contreras, 
Churubusco,  El  Molino  del  Rey,  and  San  Cosme.  I  stud- 


ied  also  the  topography  of  Vicksburg  and  Milliken's  Bend, 
the  Wilderness,  Spottsylvania,  Richmond,  and  Petersburg. 

The  plan  of  the  volume,  in  brief,  is  this :  The  first  chap 
ters  take  up  the  development  of  Ulysses  Grant  from  his 
birth  to  his  appointment  at  West  Point,  presenting  what 
ever  seems  significant  of  his  life  at  the  Military  Academy  ; 
then  passes  to  his  experiences  in  the  Mexican  War,  which 
formed  his  postgraduate  course,  and  was  his  first  intro 
duction  to  national  questions  and  to  military  intrigues.  I 
then  study  his  period  of  failure  in  civil  life,  presenting  him 
as  nearly  as  possible  as  he  appeared  at  that  time  to  his 
family  and  to  his  friends,  after  it  seemed  that  his  career  as 
a  soldier  had  ended.  I  purposely  exclude  all  forecast  and 
all  prophecy. 

The  section  which  deals  with  his  command  is  not  a  his 
tory  of  the  war  with  the  South,  nor  even  a  history  of 
General  Grant's  campaigns,  but  the  story  of  his  growing 
command,  and  his  marvelous  development  during  those 
four  epic  years.  His  motives  for  action,  rather  than  his 
action,  are  the  chief  matters  of  these  chapters.  In  precisely 
the  same  way,  the  delineation  of  the  reconstruction  period 
is  intended  to  satisfy  the  reader  who  asks,  "  What  did 
Ulysses  Grant  think  during  that  period,  and  what  were  his 
motives?  " 

The  chapters  on  the  Grant  administrations  attempt  to 
show  what  I  believe  to  be  the  fact — that  through  all  the 
complications  of  this  period,  through  the  weltering  chaos 
of  political  knaveries  and  double-dealings,  President  Grant 
pursued  a  simple,  straightforward  course.  He  had  in  him 
small  capacities  for  deceit  or  dishonesty.  Throughout  his 
whole  life,  it  seems  to  me,  he  remained  practically  the  same 
simple-minded  and  sincere  man. 

The  volume  does  not  hesitate  to  present  the  deep 
shadows  of  the  picture  as  well  as  the  high  lights,  for  they 
are  correlative.  To  leave  them  out  would  not  only  falsify 
a  human  life,  but  would  render  the  picture  flat  and  cheap. 
Ulysses  Grant  had  his  defeats  and  his  sorrows.  He  had 
his  weaknesses  as  well  as  his  great  qualities,  and  they  are 
frankly  stated. 

He  died  right.     No  public  life— not  even  that  of  Lincoln 


— closed  more  attractively  for  the  biographer.  At  the  end 
he  discovered  in  himself  new  tendencies  and  still  deeper 
reserves  of  will-power  than  he  had  hitherto  shown.  He 
had  the  great  happiness,  also,  of  seeing  the  love  and  ad 
miration  of  the  whole  people,  North  and  South,  come  back 
to  him,  in  higher  degree  than  he  had  ever  before  enjoyed. 
He  lived  long  enough  to  understand  that  the  people  of  his 
native  land  began  to  perceive  through  all  his  mistakes  the 
steady  progression  of  his  simple  purpose,  which  was  to 
rebuild  the  nation  on  a  basis  of  perfect  love  and  confidence 
between  the  States.  Unquestionably,  the  fame  of  Ulysses 
Grant  as  "  the  great  warrior  of  peace  "  is  secure. 


WASHINGTON,  March,  1898. 


IN  beginning  my  research  in  Georgetown,  I  received 
most  valuable  assistance  from  the  Hon.  C.  A.  White, 
a  lifelong  acquaintance  of  Ulysses  Grant;  Mrs. Lucinda  B. 
Powers,  daughter  of  Dr.  Bailey,  Mr.  Grant's  near  neigh 
bor;  Mr.  U.  S.  Grant  White,  son  of  Carr  B.  White, 
Grant's  most  intimate  boy  friend ;  Judge  James  Marshall, 
Ulysses'  cousin ;  Mr.  W.  H.  Wilson ;  the  late  Judge  Low- 
den;  and  Mr.  Henry  J.  Hanna.  From  Admiral  Daniel 
Ammen  I  obtained  many  anecdotes  covering  a  long  period 
of  Grant's  life,  from  his  boyhood  to  his  presidency.  Cap 
tain  Albert  Kautz  and  Captain  U.  S.  Grant  White  of  the 
navy  also  aided  me  in  my  work. 

I  wish  publicly  to  acknowledge  also  the  valuable  and 
painstaking  assistance  of  Mr.  Chambers  Baird  of  Ripley, 
Ohio,  who  secured  for  me  interviews  with  Mr.  W.  B. 
Campbell,  Mr.  Morgan  Murphy,  Mr.  W.  S.  Galbreath,  ex- 
Mayor  Edwards,  and  others  who  knew  Grant  as  a  student 
in  Ripley  and  Maysville. 

With  regard  to  Grant's  life  at  West  Point,  I  am  especially 
indebted  to  General  W.  B.  Franklin,  General  James  Long- 
street,  General  Simon  B.  Buckner,  General  D.  M.  Frost,  and 
Father  Dehon,  all  his  classmates.  Through  the  courtesy 
of  the  commandant,  I  was  able  to  examine  all  the  records 
of  Grant's  conduct  while  a  cadet ;  and  Mr.  William  Ward, 
clerk  in  the  adjutant's  office  at  the  academy,  cheerfully 
aided  me  in  my  search  of  the  records.  Through  the  cour 
tesy  of  Mr.  J.  W.  Lowe  of  Chicago  and  Mr.  Joseph  C. 
Hardie  of  Washington,  I  am  able  to  present  matter  hitherto 
unpublished  concerning  Grant's  life  at  West  Point  and  in 



Mexico.  In  Mexico  City,  through  the  kindness  of  Mr. 
Frank  R.  Guernsey,  I  was  able  to  secure  witnesses  and 
valuable  hints  giving  me  the  point  of  view  of  the  Mexican 

I  received  most  valuable  information  concerning  Grant's 
life  in  Detroit  from  General  Friend  Palmer,  Mr.  Silas 
Farmer,  and  J.  E.  Elderkin,  drum-major  in  Grant's  regi 
ment.  At  Sackett's  Harbor  I  had  the  assistance  of  Mr. 
Walter  Camp,  a  local  historian,  who  remembered  Grant 
very  well.  Very  early  in  my  study  I  found  that  Albert  D. 
Richardson,  author  of  "  The  Personal  Life  of  U.  S.  Grant," 
had  been  most  painstaking  in  his  search  for  material.  At 
Detroit,  as  at  St.  Louis,  I  interviewed  some  of  the  very 
men  with  whom  he  had  talked  nearly  thirty  years  before. 
I  here  acknowledge  an  indebtedness  to  his  book  second 
only  to  the  "  Personal  Memoirs."  With  regard  to  Captain 
Grant's  life  on  the  coast,  I  am  especially  obliged  to  Colonel 
Thomas  M.  Anderson,  the  present  commandant  of  Van 
couver  Barracks,  and  Major  Theodore  Eckerson,  now  of 

With  regard  to  Grant's  return  to  Bethel  and  to  St. 
Louis,  I  am  indebted  for  valuable  information  to  Mr. 
George  B.  Johnson  of  Cincinnati,  to  Mr.  George  W.  Fish- 
back  and  Mr.  James  E.  Yateman  of  St.  Louis,  to  Colonel 
Henry  Clay  Wright  of  Carondelet,  Mr.  Jefferson  Sapping- 
ton,  Esq.,  Mrs.  John  F.  Long,  and  other  of  the  old  neigh 
bors  and  friends  in  and  about  St.  Louis.  Also  to  Mrs. 
Louisa  M.  Boggs,  the  wife  of  Grant's  partner  in  the  real- 
estate  business,  and  to  many  others. 

I  wish  publicly  to  thank  General  Augustus  L.  Chetlain, 
Mr.  R.  H.  McClellan,  Mr.  Lewis  A.  Rowley  (son  of  Gen 
eral  Rowley),  Mr.  Richard  Barrett,  Esq.,  Mr.  M.  T.  Burke 
(now  of  La  Crosse,  Wisconsin),  Mr.  A.  H.  Haines,  Mr. 
Carson  Scott,  Mr.  O.  B.  Upson,  Mr.  H.  B.  Chetlain,  and 
Mr.  Leigh  Leslie,  for  assistance  rendered  in  Galena. 

In  Springfield,  Illinois,  I  had  the  aid  of  General  John  M. 
Palmer,  Mr.  John  W.  Bunn,  Mr.  Lincoln  Dubois,  the  Hon. 
J.  C.  Conkling,  and  Mr.  John  McCann  Davis.  Also  Cap 
tain  Harrison  Black,  Lieutenant  Joseph  W.  Vance,  Captain 
S.  C.  Burroughs,  and  S.  S.  Boggs,  all  of  the  original  mus- 


ter  of  the  Twenty-first  Illinois  Volunteers.  General  J.  E. 
Smith  and  J.  Russell  Jones  of  Chicago  also  contributed 
valuable  interviews. 

At  Cairo  I  had  the  assistance  of  Mr.  W.  N.  Butler,  Esq., 
Lieutenant  Frank  Parker,  Colonel  J.  S.  Reardon,  and  other 
veterans  of  the  early  Illinois  regiments.  Also  valuable 
material,  both  in  interviews  and  writing,  was  obtained  from 
General  John  M.  Thayre  of  Nebraska,  Colonel  L.  B.  Eaton 
of  Memphis,  Major  J.  W.  Powell  of  Washington,  and  many 
others.  Mr.  J.  W.  Kirkley  and  Captain  Leslie  Perry  of  the 
War  Records  Office  have  been  most  hearty  in  their  coopera 
tion.  Mr.  Kirkley  has  been  for  twenty  years  in  the  War 
Records  Department.  Mr.  George  C.  Gorham,  for  many 
years  clerk  of  the  Senate,  and  a  student  of  the  recon 
struction  era,  aided  me  by  suggestion  and  criticism. 

In  dealing  with  Grant's  later  days  I  am  permitted  to  use 
information  obtained  from  Mr.  John  Russell  Young,  Mr. 
W.  A.  Purrington,  Mr.  Walter  S.  Johnston,  Mr.  George 
Spencer,  Captain  N.  E.  Dawson,  Dr.  George  H.  Shrady, 
and  General  Simon  B.  Buckner. 

Among  the  principal  commanders  under  Grant  whose 
personal  testimony  was  of  great  value  to  me  are  Generals 
H.  G.  Wright,  J.  J.  Reynolds,  W.  B.  Franklin,  J.  E. 
Smith,*  A.  J.  Smith,*  J.  H.  Wilson,  Robert  McFeely, 
T.  Van  Vliet,  A.  L.  Chetlain,  Colonel  Amos  Webster,  and 
Colonel  C.  B.  Comstock.  Colonel  Marshall  of  General 
Lee's  staff,  General  Marcus  Wright,  and  General  Heth  of 
the  Confederate  service  were  most  kind  in  granting  the  use 
of  testimony. 

In  addition  to  all  these,  I  wish  also  to  thank  Mrs.  U.  S. 
Grant  and  her  sons  Frederick,  Ulysses,  and  Jesse  for  their 
instant  assistance  when  called  upon  either  by  "  McClure's 
Magazine  "  or  myself. 

*  Since  deceased. 











X    CALL  TO  WAR 61 

XI     GRANT'S  FIRST  BATTLE      69 





XVI     CLOSE  OF  THE  WAR 105 





XXI  GRANT    TRIES    TO     MAKE    A    LIVING    IN    ST. 

Louis •  141 








XXVI  GRANT  CAPTURES  NATIONAL  FAME  .    .    .    .  187 




XXIX  FROM  SHILOH  TO  MILLIKEN'S  BEND     .    .    .  208 






VIEW 315 

TION 334 





y' X£lII     GRANT  IN  THE  WHITE  HOUSE       396 








CONCLUSION    THE  DEATH-WATCH  IN  THE  WALL    .   .    .    517 


U.  S.  GRANT,  AGE  60  YEARS Frontispiece 

From  a  photograph  by  Fredricks. 

Pacing  page 


OHIO 10 

From  a  photograph  taken  especially  for  "McClure's  Magazine,"  and  now  first 


It  still  stands,  opposite  the  old  Grant  homestead. 


This  signature,  "Ulysses  Hiram  Grant,"  was  written  the  same  day  as  the  one, 
"U.  H.  Grant,"  in  the  register  at  Roe's  Hotel,  May  29,  1839. 


This  certificate  was  signed  by  Grant,  September  14,  1839,  after  he  had  passed  his 
examinations.  It  bears  what  is,  so  far  as  known,  Grant's  earliest  autograph  as 
U.  "  S. "  Grant.  By  this  time  the  mistake  of  Congressman  Hamer  in  so  naming 
him  to  the  War  Department  had  fixed  that  as  his  official  designation. 


From  a  photograph  by  Pach  Brothers,  New  York. 


From  a  photograph  loaned  by  Lieutenant  S.  C.  Hazzard,  West  Point. 



Reproduced  by  permission  from  the  original  drawing,  owned  by  C.  F.  Gunther, 
Chicago,  and  now  first  published. 



Facing  page 



Reproduced  by  permission  from  the  original,  owned  by  Mrs.  Rotherey,  Newark, 
New  Jersey,  and  now  first  published. 



Taken  in  Cincinnati  in  1843,  just  after  graduation  from  West  Point. 


HARBOR,  NEW  YORK    1849,  AGE  27  YEARS    ...      54 

From  a  very  small  miniature. 




Louis,  MISSOURI 58 

Redrawn  from  an  old  drawing  owned  by  Mrs.  U.  S.  Grant. 


The  original  picture,  owned  by  Mrs.  Agnes  M.  Hays  Gormly,  was  taken  at  Camp 
Salubrity,  Louisiana,  in  1845.  Beside  Grant  (the  figure  in  the  background)  is  his 
racing  pony  Dandy,  and  beside  Lieutenant  Hays  is  his  pony  Sunshine.  The  two 
men  had  been  fellow-cadets  at  West  Point,  and  served  in  the  same  regiment  in  the 
Mexican  War.  Afterward  Hays,  like  Grant,  retired  from  the  army,  to  reenter  it 
at  the  breaking  out  of  the  Civil  War  as  a  colonel  of  volunteers.  He  became  a 
brigadier-general,  and  was  killed  in  the  battle  of  the  Wilderness.  Grant,  on 
learning  of  his  death,  said :  "I  am  not  surprised  that  he  met  his  death  at  the 
head  of  his  troops;  it  was  just  like  him.  He  was  a  man  who  would  never  follow, 
but  would  always  lead,  in  battle." 


The  battle  of  Chapultepec,  showing  Grant's  regiment,  the  Fourth  Infantry,  in  the 
foreground  on  the  right. 


Louis,  MISSOURI      .  :  .    .    .    .    .    .    .    ...     .     .     no 

From  a  recent  photograph  taken  expressly  for  "McClure's  Magazine." 



From  a  photograph  loaned  by  Captain  E.  D.  Smith  of  the  Fifteenth  Infantry. 
The  building  shown  was  erected  in  1848,  the  year  Grant  first  went  to  Detroit, 
and  is  the  only  one  now  standing  at  Fort  Wayne  that  could  have  been  in  existence 
when  Grant  was  stationed  there. 


Facing  page 


From  a  photograph  owned  by  Colonel  Walter  B.  Camp. 

COUVER  IN    1852   AND    1853 122 

Redrawn  from  a  photograph  loaned  by  Colonel  Thomas  M.  Anderson,  present  com 
mandant  of  Fort  Vancouver. 


Redrawn  from  a  painting  by  Dr.  Covington,  now  owned  by  Captain  James  A. 
Buchanan  of  the  Eleventh  Infantry. 


FREDERICK  D.  AND  ULYSSES  S.,  JR.,  ABOUT  1854   .     133 

From  a  daguerreotype  taken  at  St.  Louis,  now  owned  by  Mr.  U.  S/  Grant,  Jr., 
and  reproduced  here  with  his  permission. 



In  the  original  letter  the  last  three  lines  and  the  signature  are  on  a  second  page. 

U.  S.  GRANT,  AGE  41  YEARS 228 

Taken  in  1863,  before  Vicksburg.     From  a  defective  negative. 



From  the  Civil  War  collection  of  Mr.  Robert  Coster. 


WAR,  AGE  43  YEARS 308 

From  a  spoiled  negative. 






From  an  original  photograph  owned  by  Helen  M.  Burke,  La  Crosse,  Wisconsin. 


69  YEARS 424 

From  an  original  photograph  owned  by  Helen  M.  Burke  of  La  Crosse,  Wisconsin. 


Pacing  page 



From  a  photograph  by  Brady. 

U.  S.  GRANT,  AGE  54  YEARS 446 



NEW  YORK,  AGE  59  YEARS 488 

From  a  photograph  by  W.  Kurtz. 




SINCE  this  book  was  written  (in  1896)  nearly  all 
of  the  contemporaries  of  Ulysses  Grant  have  passed 
to  the  silent  majority.  Hardly  one  of  all  those  who  were 
most  valuable  witnesses  to  his  deeds  and  his  character 
are  now  alive.  Within  ten  years  after  I  secured  the  testi 
mony  of  Generals  Buckner,  Franklin,  Wright,  and  Long- 
street,  they,  like  others  of  his  classmates,  comrades,  and 
antagonists,  had  passed  away.  My  work  was  hardly  com 
pleted  before  some  of  them  were  no  longer  able  to  give 
their  testimony. 

To  see  General  Longstreet  I  journeyed  all  the  way 
from  New  York  City  to  Gainesville,  Georgia,  but  the  story 
to  which  I  listened  was  amply  worth  the  journey.  All 
the  afternoon  and  evening  I  listened  and  watched  while 
the  heroic  shadows  of  the  past  filed  through  the  old  man's 
mind.  His  tall,  stooping  figure  and  his  dim  eyes  were 
already  touched  with  the  coming  mist  of  evening,  but  his 
spirit  was  that  of  a  gallant  chieftain.  He  had  no  equivocal 
words  concerning  Grant.  He  loved  him  and  honored  him. 

From  Jefferson  Sapington,  Grant's  neighbor  on  the  Gra- 
vois,  and  from  the  wife  of  Grant's  partner,  Mrs.  Henry 
Boggs,  as  well  as  from  Burke  who  worked  as  a  clerk  in  the 
Galena  store,  I  gathered  invaluable  personal  material, 
knowing  well  that  their  terms  of  life  were  each  year  more 
uncertain.  Most  of  my  witnesses  are  gone,  but  their  rec 
ords  help  to  form  this  book.  Others  are  in  my  files  to 
be  used  in  case  of  need,  interlined  with  corrections  by  the 
witnesses  themselves.  All  of  them  were  used  in  making 
up  the  judgments  in  this  volume. 

With  Grant's  friends  have  also  departed  his  enemies. 
I  sat  one  evening  in  an  obscure  Chicago  tenement  beside 
the  bed  of  MacDonald,  one  of  the  Whisky  Ring  leaders, 



patiently  enduring  his  long  and  tedious  tale,  which  had  very 
little  to  do  with  Grant  and  a  great  deal  to  do  with  him 
self.  In  an  eastern  country  house,  I  took  notes  while  one 
of  Grant's  military  critics  paced  up  and  down  the  room, 
thundering  out  his  argument  to  prove  that  Ulysses  Grant 
was  a  vastly  overrated  man  and  that  he  (a  subordinate) 
was  the  real  author  of  the  Vicksburg  Campaign. 

Time  has  its  terrible  revenges !  Who  now  cares  whether 
this  man  or  that  man  considered  himself  a  bigger  man 
than  Grant?  Into  the  night  they  go,  one  and  all,  while 
the  man  who  called  for  "  Unconditional  Surrender,"  and 
who  said,  "I  propose  to  fight  it  out  on  this  line  if  it  takes 
all  summer,"  holds  his  place  beside  Abraham  Lincoln  as 
the  man  who  saved  the  Union  in  1865. 

If  I  were  writing  this  story  to-day,  I  should  lay  greater 
stress  on  the  estrangement  which  came  between  Ulysses 
Grant  and  his  father  after  his  resignation  from  the  army, 
for  the  reason  that  it  accounts  in  large  measure  for  his 
apparent  failure  as  a  civilian.  No  man,  no  matter  how 
great  he  may  be,  can  escape  these  domestic  complications, 
and  Grant  was  no  exception.  Any  history  of  him  which 
leaves  out  the  antagonisms  of  The  Dents  and  The  Grants 
will  be  a  false  picture  —  or  at  least  a  faulty  picture,  for  old 
Jesse  Grant  was  not  only  deeply  disappointed  in  his  son's 
marriage  into  a  slave-owning  family,  he  refused  to  aid 
him  so  long  as  he  continued  to  live  in  the  South.  He  is 
reported  to  have  said,  "  Ulysses,  when  you  are  ready  to 
come  North  I  will  give  you  a  start,  but  so  long  as  you 
make  your  home  among  a  tribe  of  slave-owners  I  will  do 

Grant  was  a  loyal  and  tender  husband,  hence  he  stayed 
on  in  St.  Louis,  trying,  for  his  wife's  sake,  to  make  a  living 
in  a  region  where  he  was  at  once  an  alien  and  a  suspect. 
Concerning  this  time  Mrs.  Boggs,  the  wife  of  Captain 
Grant's  partner  in  the  real  estate  business,  is  a  com 
petent  witness,  and  I  have  in  hand  careful  notes  of  her 
testimony.  The  picture  which  she  draws  of  Grant  at  this 
time  is  sad  but  admirable.  "When  he  came  to  live  at  our 
house  he  was  in  despair,"  she  says  in  her  letter  to  me. 
"He  was  gentle  and  dignified  and  uncomplaining,  but  it 


was  pitiful  to  see  him  sitting  silently  in  the  cold,  bare  little 
room  which  he  rented  of  us.  He  was  sober  and  willing  to 
work  and  he  did  work,  but  in  those  disturbed  times  he 
found  it  difficult  to  find  employment.  He  had  no  trade, 
no  profession,  and  he  was  a  Northerner.  That  must  never 
be  left  out  of  the  account." 

It  is  all  fought  out  and  swiftly  receding  now,  and  we  can 
speak  of  it  without  heat  as  a  powerful  factor  in  the  life 
of  one  of  the  world's  great  figures.  A  cannonball  tosser 
cannot  exercise  with  feathers,  and  this  great  military 
genius,  in  times  of  peace  and  in  a  community  where  every 
body  was  politically  opposed  to  him,  was  helpless.  It  was 
not  a  matter  of  dissipation.  I  have  gone  into  all  that 
with  the  greatest  care,  and  I  can  report  once  again  that 
Grant,  even  in  that  dark  hour,  was  a  gentleman.  Mrs. 
Boggs  said,  "I  liked  him  and  respected  him  even  while  I 
felt  sorry  for  him." 

The  use  of  slaves  on  the  farm  at  Gravois  was  a  source 
of  irritation  and  shame  to  Grant.  Jefferson  Sapington  told 
me  that  he  and  Grant  used  to  work  in  the  fields  with  the 
blacks.  He  said  with  glee,  "  Grant  was  helpless  when  it 
came  to  making  slaves  work,"  and  Mrs.  Boggs  corrobo 
rated  this.  "He  was  no  hand  to  manage  negroes,"  she 
said.  "He  couldn't  force  them  to  do  anything.  He 
wouldn't  whip  them.  He  was  too  gentle  and  good  tem 
pered  —  and  besides  he  was  not  a  slavery  man.  I  can  see 
him  now  as  he  used  to  sit  so  humbly  at  my  fireside.  He 
had  no  exalted  opinion  of  himself  at  any  time,  but  in  those 
days  he  was  almost  in  despair.  He  walked  the  streets 
looking  for  something  to  do.  He  was  actually  the  most 
obscure  man  in  St.  Louis.  Nobody  took  any  notice  of 
him.  He  tried  in  every  possible  way  to  get  his  capabilities 
before  the  people,  and  failed.  It  was  never  in  him  to  push 
himself  forward.  St.  Louis  was  very  hot  politically  that 
year,  and  I  remember  well  the  time  came  when  my  hus 
band  refused  to  shake  hands  with  him  for  taking  the 
1  wrong  side,'  as  we  called  it  then.  The  Dents  were  all 
Southern  and  so  were  we. 

"It  was  a  hard  situation  for  Captain  Grant.  He  was  a 
Northern  man  married  into  a  Southern,  slave-owning 


family  and  Dent  openly  despised  him.  We  all  said  'Poor 
Julia ! '  when  we  spoke  of  her  marriage.  Grant's  habits 
were  good  while  he  lived  with  us.  I  recall  hearing  Mr. 
Boggs  say  to  Richardson,  the  historian, '  I  never  saw  Grant 
under  the  influence  of  liquor  in  my  life.'  Grant  was  not  a 
man  to  frequent  saloons.  He  was  not  that  kind  of  a  man. 

"He  was  a  sad  man.  I  never  heard  him  laugh  out  loud. 
He  would  smile  and  he  was  not  what  you  would  call  a 
gloomy  man,  but  he  was  a  sad  man.  He  was  a  gentle, 
kind  man  with  no  special  powers  for  getting  along.  I 
don't  think  he  saw  any  light  ahead  —  not  a  particle.  I 
don't  think  he  had  any  ambition  further  than  to  feed  and 
clothe  his  little  family. 

"His  mind  was  almost  always  somewhere  else.  He  said 
very  little  unless  some  war  topic  came  up.  If  you  men 
tioned  Napoleon's  battles  or  the  Mexican  War  he  was 
fluent  enough.  He  was  a  domestic  man,  extremely  home- 
loving  in  his  ways,  and  his  wife  had  a  very  great  influence 
over  him.  I  have  no  doubt  she  kept  him  in  St.  Louis 
longer  than  he  otherwise  would  have  stayed.  The  Dents 
took  pride  in  their  Southern  birth,  while  the  Grants  were 
hard-working,  economical  folks.  The  two  families  never 
fused.  Old  Jesse  Grant  was  very  outspoken  about  it. 
I  recall  his  saying  to  me,  'Are  you  related  to  that  Dent 
tribe?'  He  used  just  that  word  tribe,  and  it  meant  a  great 
deal  as  he  spoke  it.  After  Grant  took  the  Northern  side 
Colonel  Dent  was  furious,  swore  he'd  shoot  Grant  if  he 
ever  set  foot  on  his  farm.  Of  course  this  was  in  the  wild 
days  of  sixty-one  and  two.  Mrs.  Dent  always  liked 
Captain  Grant  and  believed  in  his  ability." 

These  family  antagonisms  explain  many  curious  facts. 
There  is  no  record  that  Grant's  mother  ever  saw  the  White 
House,  but  there  is  positive  testimony  that  old  Jesse  never 
slept  there  —  the  Dents  were  in  possession !  No  doubt 
this  friction  was  a  sorrow  to  Grant,  but  it  was  not  a  con 
dition  which  military  genius  could  alter.  He  bore  with  it 
patiently  and  nobly.  No  one  ever  heard  him  complain 
of  it,  but  it  must  be  reckoned  with  in  any  estimate  of  his 
otherwise  incomprehensible  stay  in  Missouri. 

In  looking  back  upon  Grant's  marvellous  career  from  the 


standpoint  of  the  World  War  we  naturally  ask  ourselves, 
"Has  he  suffered  diminishment ? "  In  my  judgment  he 
has  not.  His  armies  have  been  reduced  by  comparison 
with  the  millions  in  command  of  Foch,  but  the  amazing 
military  skill  and  the  invincible  soul  of  the  silent  com 
mander  remain.  Indeed  his  personality  looms  ever  larger 
in  our  history.  No  other  figure  save  that  of  Lincoln 
disputes  that  far  horizon  with  him.  He  fought  the  Civil 
War  to  a  victorious  end,  and  in  his  terms  of  peace  he  showed 
a  spirit  which  is  in  sharp  contrast  with  the  ruthless  cam 
paigns  of  the  German  generals.  He  fought  like  a  gallant 
and  chivalrous  soldier,  expressing  neither  hatred  nor 
revenge.  He  battled  with  grim,  invincible  resolution, 
but  always  without  heat  or  exultation.  No  great  soldier 
ever  lived  with  a  kindlier,  saner  spirit. 

In  the  matter  of  trench  warfare  he  was  a  pioneer. 
When  his  armies  sank  into  the  ground  before  Vicksburg, 
they  forecast  the  long  line  from  Belgium  to  the  Alps. 
The  precision  of  his  campaigns  in  Tennessee  and  Virginia 
has  not  been  surpassed  by  any  modern  general,  and  his 
skill  in  handling  an  army  is  reflected  in  the  concise,  clear, 
and  masterly  phrases  in  which  his  orders  are  expressed. 
War  with  him  was  not  an  adventure,  but  a  duty.  He 
loathed  strife.  The  pomp  and  glory  of  an  army  were  re 
pellent  to  him,  and  he  took  no  part  in  any  parade  where  his 
presence  was  not  necessary.  His  modesty  in  the  midst 
of  military  display  makes  him  one  of  the  strangest  com 
manders  in  the  annals  of  war.  He  had  the  genius  which 
is  unaccountable  —  the  ability  to  do  the  unforeseen. 
Without  doubt  he  would  have  been  a  supreme  commander 
in  France,  adequate  and  imperturbable. 

With  regard  to  his  place  as  President  he  gains  rather 
than  loses  by  the  passage  of  time.  As  the  men  who  were 
his  bitter  political  enemies  pass  away  and  the  issues  for 
which  he  really  stood  grow  clearer,  it  is  evident  that  he 
was  adequate  in  the  White  House.  His  mistakes  were 
after  all  in  minor  matters.  He  stood  for  the  Union,  for 
justice,  for  clemency  all  the  time.  As  he  had  no  hate  in 
battle,  so  he  had  no  vindictiveness  in  reconstruction.  He 
kept  the  peace  and  he  executed  the  laws. 


He  was  not  a  law-maker.  His  conception  of  the  presi 
dency  was  not  like  that  held  by  later  occupants  of  the 
White  House.  He  was  in  no  sense  a  dictator,  he  was  care 
ful  not  to  usurp  any  of  the  functions  of  the  legislative  or 
judicial  branches  of  the  government.  Ludicrous  as  it  now 
seems,  this  "Man  on  Horseback"  was  accused  of  desiring 
to  be  a  Czar,  and  yet  he  never  asked  for  any  power  which 
did  not  belong  to  the  Executive  Branch  of  the  government. 
No  man  ever  sat  in  the  chair  who  was  more  scrupulous 
about  this  point.  It  is  true  he  exercised  his  powers  in  the 
manner  of  a  soldier,  but  it  was  at  a  time  when  he  was 
needed.  He  was  the  one  man  whom  the  people  entirely 
trusted.  His  former  opponents  depended  upon  him  and 
were  not  betrayed. 

Washington,  Lincoln,  Grant  —  this  is  the  way  the  names 
of  our  great  men  run.  Washington  who  established  the 
Republic,  Lincoln  who  freed  the  slaves,  and  Grant  who 
saved  the  Union  with  the  force  of  arms.  This  sequence 
cannot  be  broken.  All  other  names,  glorious  as  they  may 
be,  will  be  counted  after  these.  So  long  as  this  Union  is 
an  inspiration  and  a  power,  so  long  as  the  United  States 
shall  last  as  an  entity,  these  names  will  be  emblazoned  at 
the  head  of  the  long  roll  of  our  most  illustrious  dead. 

NEW  YORK,  1920. 



T  TLYSSES  GRANT  was  born  in  a  cabin  home  standing 
LJ  in  a  little  village  on  the  north  bank  of  the  Ohio 
River,  at  a  point  about  twenty- five  miles  east  of  Cincin 
nati.  This  cabin  stood  comparatively  unchanged  up  to 
the  year  1885,  when  it  was  taken  down  and  removed  to 
Columbus  as  a  relic. 

It  was  a  one-story  building  of  two  very  small  rooms, 
with  an  outside  chimney  at  one  end,  in  the  manner  of 
Southern  cottages.  In  one  room  the  family  lived  in  the 
daytime,  cooking  at  the  big  fireplace,  and  eating  at  a  pine 
table.  In  the  other  room  they  slept. 

It  was  almost  as  humble  in  appearance  as  the  home  in 
which  Abraham  Lincoln  first  saw  the  light  The  village 
was  called  Point  Pleasant,  and  it  was  indeed  a  beautiful 
place.  Below  the  door  the  Ohio  River  curved  away  into 
blue  distance,  and  behind  it  rose  hills  covered  with  tall 
woods  of  oak  and  walnut  and  ash.  At  that  time  the  river 
was  the  great  highway,  and  over  its  steel-bright  surface 
the  stern- wheel  steamers  Daniel  Boom  and  Simon  Ken- 
ton  plied  amid  many  flatboats,  like  immense  swans  sur 
rounded  by  awkward  water-bugs. 

2  °.'V'.       :     ,  .tLIEE   OF   GRANT 

At  this  time  Point  Pleasant  had  hopes  of  being  a 
metropolis.  It  was  deceived.  It  is  to-day  a  very  small 
village,  at  whose  wharf  only  an  occasional  steamer  conde 
scends  to  stop.  In  1820  it  contained,  among  other  indus 
tries,  a  tannery ;  and  the  foreman  of  this  tannery  was  an 
ambitious,  stalwart  young  fellow  named  Jesse  Grant.  He 
had  been  in  business  for  himself  some  years  before,  and 
was  looking  for  a  chance  to  begin  again.  Sickness  had 
broken  him  up  in  business  at  Ravenna,  and  had  swept 
away  his  savings — savings  which  represented  the  most 
unremitting  toil  and  the  most  rigorous  self-denial;  but 
he  was  once  more  accumulating  a  fund,  and  was  nearly 
ready  for  a  second  venture. 

He  married,  in  1821,  a  slender,  self-contained  young 
girl  named  Hannah  Simpson — a  girl  of  most  excellent 
quality,  handsome,  but  not  vain,  and  of  great  steadiness 
of  purpose.  In  1822  his  first  son  was  born,  and  in  1823 
tanner  Grant  decided  upon  Georgetown  as  the  best  point 
to  set  up  a  tannery  of  his  own.  His  keen  perception  of 
the  commercial  changes  going  on  decided  this  movement. 
Georgetown  was  the  county-seat  of  the  new  county  of 
Brown,  and  had  the  further  advantage  of  being  situated 
in  a  wilderness  of  tan-bark.  By  reason  of  its  oaks, 
Georgetown  became  the  boyhood  home  of  Ulysses  Grant. 

The  Grant  family  made  a  vivid  impression  upon  the 
citizens  of  Georgetown  at  once.  Jesse  Grant  was  a 
strong  man  physically  and  mentally,  though  possessed 
of  many  idiosyncrasies.  He  was  nearly  six  feet  in  height, 
and  alive  to  his  finger-tips.  His  head  was  large  and  his 
face  strongly  modeled,  but  his  eyes  were  weak  and  near 
sighted.  He  looked  the  transplanted  New-Englander  he 

He  came  of  a  strong  family  of  most  admirable  record. 
His  father  and  grandfather  had  been  soldiers  in  the  colo 
nial  and  Revolutionary  wars  respectively,  his  grandfather 
attaining  the  rank  of  captain.  His  father  was  lieutenant 
at  Lexington,  and  fought  through  the  entire  Revolution 
ary  War.  The  Grants  had  been  Connecticut  Yankees  for 
several  generations,  and  Jesse  brought  the  vigor,  hardi 
hood,  and  shrewd  economy  of  his  forebears  to  the  less 


thrifty  Ohio  border.  He  took  a  prominent  position  in 
the  village  at  once  ;  for  he  loved  to  talk,  to  make  speeches, 
and  to  argue,  and,  besides  holding  advanced  ideas,  he 
wrote  rhymes.  He  had  the  gentle  art  of  making  enemies 
as  well  as  friends.  He  was  pronouncedly  of  the  North ; 
his  neighbors  were  mainly  of  the  South. 

Hannah  Simpson,  his  wife,  had  no  discoverable  enemies. 
She  was  almost  universally  beloved  as  a  Christian  woman 
and  faithful  wife  and  mother.  But  it  took  longer  to  know 
her.  She  was  the  most  reticent  of  persons.  "  Ulysses 
got  his  reticence,  his  patience,  his  equable  temper,  from 
his  mother,"  is  the  verdict  of  those  who  knew  both  father 
and  mother.  Others  go  further  and  say :  "  He  got  his 
sense  from  his  mother." 

In  truth,  the  Simpsons  were  a  fine  old  family.  They 
were  quite  as  martial  as  the  Grants,  were  as  genuinely 
American  in  their  history,  and  were  possessed  apparently 
of  greater  self-control.  Hannah  Simpson  was  the  daugh 
ter  of  John  Simpson,  a  man  with  the  restless  heart  of  a 
pioneer,  who  had  left  his  ancestral  home  in  Pennsylvania, 
near  Philadelphia,  and  had  settled  in  Clermont  County, 
Ohio,  a  few  years  before.  He  had  built  a  brick  house 
and  opened  a  large  farm,  and  his  position  was  most  hon 
orable  in  his  town  of  Bantam.  Hannah  Simpson,  his 
daughter,  seems  to  have  gathered  up  and  carried  forward 
to  her  son  Ulysses  the  best  qualities  of  her  people.  That 
she  was  a  remarkable  woman  all  her  neighbors  bear  testi 
mony.  She  never  complained  of  any  hardship  or  toil  or 
depression.  She  seldom  laughed,  and  her  son  Ulysses 
once  said,  "  I  never  saw  her  shed  a  tear  in  my  life."  She 
was  as  proud  of  her  family  history  as  her  husband  was  of 
his,  but  she  said  nothing  about  it.  She  never  argued, 
never  boasted,  and  never  gossiped  of  her  neighbors.  Her 
husband  bore  testimony  of  her  character  in  words  well 
chosen :  "  Her  steadiness  and  strength  of  character  have 
been  the  stay  of  the  family  through  life."  Her  old  neigh 
bors  call  her  "  a  noble  woman." 

A  large  part  of  the  criticism  of  Jesse  Grant  arose  from 
two  sources — his  disputatiousness  and  his  Northern  pre 
judices.  In  1823,  as  now,  Georgetown  was  inhabited  by 

4  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

native  families,  that  is  to  say,  by  families  at  least  two  re 
moves  from  the  old  world,  as  a  roster  of  the  names  will 
show.  There  was  scarcely  an  Italian,  Russian,  French,  or 
Scandinavian  among  them ;  but  many  were  from  Kentucky 
and  Virginia,  and  the  town  partook  almost  equally  of 
South  and  North  in  respect  of  customs,  speech,  and  politi 
cal  prejudices ;  possibly  at  that  time  the  South  predomi 
nated.  Jesse  Grant  was  a  Yankee,  and  a  natural  radical  in 
politics.  He  was  quite  ready  to  argue,  and  dispute  arose 
at  once. 

The  village  was  laid  out  around  the  court-house  square, 
in  Southern  fashion.  It  was  a  town  hewn  out  of  a  mighty 
forest  of  trees.  On  every  side  the  lofty  walnut  and  maple 
and  oak  and  ash  trees  stood  in  ranks,  and  the  farmers  tilled 
around  the  immovably  rooted  boles  of  girdled  oaks.  To 
this  day  the  fringes  and  fragments  of  woods,  and  especially 
the  stumps,  testify  of  the  giants  of  other  days. 

The  town,  consisting  of  a  score  of  houses,  possibly,  was 
set  just  where  the  broken  land,  some  ten  miles  back  from 
the  Ohio  River,  levels  up  into  a  sort  of  plateau,  with 
White  Oak  Creek  to  the  west  and  Straight  Creek  to  the 
east.  The  soil  was  fat  and  productive,  as  the  settler  could 
well  perceive  by  measuring  the  giant  oaks  which  had  risen 
out  of  it,  and  he  set  himself  to  work  like  some  valorous 
but  inconsiderate  and  inconsiderable  insect  to  gnaw  down 
the  forest  and  let  in  the  sunlight  upon  his  corn  and 

/xThe  life  which  the  boy  Ulysses  touched  was  therefore 
primitive,  unrefined,  and  serious.  The  manners  of  the  vil 
lage  were  almost  as  rude  as  those  of  the  farms.  The  houses 
were  small,  unadorned,  and  overcrowded  with  children. 
The  women  cooked  at  the  open  fireplaces  with  pots  and 
cranes,  with  "  reflectors  "  and  "  Dutch  ovens  "  as  luxuries. 
The  ceilings  were  very  low,  the  walls  bare,  the  furniture 
rude  and  scanty.  The  interiors  were  without  a  single  touch 
of  refining  grace,  save  when  at  night  the  fireplace  threw  a 
golden  glory  over  the  rough  plaster,  and  filled  the  corners 
-^of.the  room  with  mystery  of  shadow-play. 

The  type  of  house  most  common  was  a  modification  in 
frame  or  brick  of  the  woodsman's  cabin,  with  a  chimney 


at  each  end,  and  a  little  lean-to  kitchen  behind.  The  Grant 
home  for  the  first  few  years  was  a  small,  low  brick  structure 
with  one  room,  a  kitchen,  and  a  garret.  This  means  that 
the  family  ate,  met  their  kind,  and  slept  in  two  rooms. 
This  almost  universal  poverty  of  room  produced  the  trun 
dle-bed,  which  shoved  under  the  bed  of  the  parents  like  a 
bureau  drawer.  More  ambitious  houses  were  soon  built, 
but  in  general  the  two-roomed  cabin  continued  to  be  the 
typical  home  of  the  villager  as  well  as  of  the  woodsman. 

Newspapers  were  few,  but  they  were  read  with  minute 
care.  Life  was  timed  to  the  slow  pulsing  to  and  fro  of  the 
clumsy  stage,  and  to  the  stately  languor  of  the  stern- wheel 
steamers,  whose  booming  roar  sounded  clamorously  in  the 
night  from  the  river  mist  ten  miles  away.  The  fact  that 
Georgetown  was  an  inland  town,  and  that  it  was  a  farming 
community,  kept  it  comparatively  free  from  broil  and  blood 
shed,  rude  though  it  was.  It  had  also  repose  and  a  cer 
tain  security  of  life  which  found  some  compensation  for  its 
remoteness.  Ripley,  down  on  the  Ohio  River  ten  miles 
away,  was  the  principal  market,  but  it  seemed  likely  to  be 
more.  It  was  considered  entitled  to  regular  stops  on  the 
part  of  the  steamers,  which  swung  to  with  elaborate  and 
disdainful  courtesy  in  answer  to  signals  from  the  lesser 
towns.  From  Ripley  or  Higginsport,  Georgetown  was 
reached  by  stage  over  hill  and  through  deep  woods. 

Ulysses  Grant  lived  for  sixteen  years  in  this  locality, 
and  upon  the  boy  mind  were  impressed  the  faces,  the 
speech,  the  manners,  and  the  daily  habits  of  these  people. 
He  loved  the  town  with  the  love  men  have  for  the  things 
thus  clothed  upon  with  childish  wonder,  and  which  never 
lose  their  halo. 

The  citizens  were  a  plain  people  of  unesthetic  tempera 
ment,  sturdy  of  arm  and  resolute  of  heart,  as  befitted 
woodsmen.  "  Nonsense  "  they  could  not  abide,  and  they 
were  quick  to  perceive  Jesse  Grant's  "  foolish  pride  "  in 
his  little  son  Ulysses.  They  were  amused  at  this  name 
"  Ulysses,"  which  they  soon  parodied  into  "  Useless." 
11  How  did  you  come  to  saddle  such  a  name  on  the  poor 
child?"  some  of  them  asked. 

The  story  was  curious.      A.S  related  by  the  father,  it 


appeared  that  after  the  birth  of  his  eldest  son  the  common 
difficulty  of  choosing  a  name  arose.  Multitudes  of  sugges 
tions  only  confused  the  young  parents  the  more,  until  at 
last  it  was  proposed  to  cast  the  names  into  a  hat.  This 
was  done.  A  romantic  aunt  suggested  "  Theodore."  The 
mother  favored  "  Albert,"  in  honor  of  Albert  Gallatin. 
Grandfather  Simpson  voted  "  Hiram,"  because  he  con 
sidered  it  a  handsome  name.  The  drawing  resulted  in 
two  names,  Hiram  and  Ulysses. 

"  Ulysses,"  it  is  said,  was  cast  into  the  hat  by  Grand 
mother  Simpson,  who  had  been  reading  a  translation  of 
Fenelon's  "  Telemachus,"  and  had  been  much  impressed 
by  the  description  given  of  Ulysses.  The  boy  was 
named  "  Hiram  Ulysses  Grant."  But  the  father  always 
called  him  Ulysses,  and  never  Hiram.  "  My  Ulysses  " 
was  a  common  expression  of  his,  and  the  rude  jesters  of 
the  village  mocked  his  utterance  of  it. 

Other  children  came  to  the  Grants — Simpson  (three 
years  younger),  Clara,  Virginia,  Orvil  (nearly  thirteen  years 
younger),  and  Mary,  the  youngest  of  them  all ;  but  Ulysses 
remained  the  father's  pride,  and  upon  him  he  built  ah 
his  hopes.  Ulysses  developed  early  into  a  self-reliant 
child,  active  and  healthy.  He  came  at  the  age  of  seven 
to  a  share  in  the  work  about  the  house  and  yard.  He  be 
gan  to  pick  up  chips  and  to  carry  in  the  wood  for  the  big 
fireplaces,  quite  like  the  son  of  a  farmer.  He  was  called 
"  Lys,"  or,  in  the  soft  drawl  of  the  South,  "  Lyssus  " ;  his 
playmates  had  not  yet  begun  to  find  it  worth  while  to 
tease  him  about  his  name.  He  had  wonderful  love  for 
horses,  and  as  soon  as  he  could  toddle  he  delighted  to  go 
out  across  the  yard,  where,  at  the  hitching-poles  before 
the  finishing-room  of  the  tannery,  several  teams  were  al 
most  always  to  be  found  on  pleasant  days.  He  crawled 
about  between  the  legs  of  the  dozing  horses,  and  swung 
by  their  tails  in  perfect  content,  till  some  timid  mother 
near  by  rushed  in  to  Mrs.  Grant  with  excited  outcry: 
"  Mrs.  Grant,  do  you  know  where  your  boy  is?  He  's  out 
there  swinging  on  the  tails  of  Loudon's  horses!" 

But  Mrs.  Grant  never  seemed  to  worry  about  Ulysses  in 
the  least.  She  was  not  of  those  mothers  whose  maternal 


love  casts  a  correspondingly  deep  shadow  of  agonizing 
fear.  "  When  Ulysses  was  sick  she  gave  him  a  dose  of 
castor-oil,  put  him  to  bed,  and  went  calmly  about  her 
work,  trusting  in  the  Lord  and  the  boy's  constitution,"  one 
neighbor  said. 

Mrs.  Grant  saw  that  Ulysses  understood  horses,  and 
that  they  understood  him,  so  she  interfered  very  little  in 
his  play  with  the  teams  across  the  way.  She  was  too  busy 
to  have  an  eye  to  his  restless  activity. 




T  eight  years  of  age  Ulysses  began  to  drive  a  team 
and  to  break  bark  into  the  hopper  of  the  bark-mill, 
which  was  precisely  like  a  big  coffee-mill,  put  in  action  by 
a  horse  attached  to  a  circling  sweep.  Into  a  big  iron 
hopper  it  was  the  boy's  duty  to  break  the  long  slabs  of 
bark  with  a  mallet.  The  strips  as  they  came  from  the  woods 
were  several  feet  in  length,  and  in  order  to  reach  the 
grinding  machinery  they  needed  to  be  broken  into  chunks 
four  or  five  inches  long.  This  was  wearisome  business, 
especially  when  the  pawpaws  were  ripe  and  the  hawk  was 
indolently  floating  on  the  western  wind.  The  mill  stood 
under  a  shed  where  there  was  nothing  to  see,  and,  besides, 
the  boy  doing  the  work  was  obliged  to  keep  his  head  out 
of  the  way  of  the  sweep,  and  to  see  that  the  horse  kept  a 
steady  gait.  "  If  you  stopped  to  think  how  many  strips 
were  ahead  of  you  the  thought  was  appalling." 

Breaking  bark  did  not  please  Ulysses  so  well  as  driving 
the  team  which  hauled  the  bark  from  the  woods,  and  he 
escaped  it  in  every  way  possible.  When  his  father  said 
to  him,  "  We  shall  have  to  go  to  grinding  bark,"  he  would 
rise  "  without  saying  a  word,  and  start  straight  for  ths 
village,  to  get  a  load  to  haul  or  passengers  to  carry,  or 
something  or  other  to  do,  and  hire  a  boy  to  come  and 
grind  the  bark."  He  was  sometimes  able  to  persuade  the 
girls  to  help  him  by  exalting  the  privilege,  in  the  way  of 
Tom  Sawyer,  and  by  earnestly  detailing  the  need  there 
was  of  his  riding  on  the  sweep  behind  the  horse.  This  was 
great  generalship,  and  across  the  space  of  half  a  century 


his  girl  playmates  still  remember  his  roguish  triumph. 
He  was  always  on  hand,  also,  when  the  wheat  was  being 
threshed,  or  for  any  work  in  which  there  was  a  chance  to 
ride  a  horse. 

All  around  him,  during  those  years,  the  mighty  battle 
with  the  forest  went  on.  Axes  rang  incessantly;  trees 
crashed  and  fell ;  columns  of  smoke  rose  to  the  sky  at  mid 
day,  and  splendid  fires  glowed  at  night.  It  was  like  the 
attack  of  brownies  on  a  chained  and  helpless  army  of 
giants.  The  steam  sawmill  had  not  yet  added  its  devour 
ing  teeth  to  the  destruction  of  the  trees;  it  was  mainly 
hand-work.  Ulysses  took  active  part  in  this  devastation. 
He  helped  strip  the  bark  from  the  oaks  and  set  fire  to  the 
stumps  and  the  heaps  of  branches.  He  drove  team  when 
the  bark  was  carried  to  the  mill,  and  he  lent  a  hand  to  roll 
the  useless  logs  into  piles  to  be  burned.  There  was 
something  splendid  in  this  activity,  while  the  tannery  grew 
more  and  more  repulsive  to  him,  and  secretly  he  made  up 
his  mind  never  to  be  a  tanner.  He  would  grind  bark  in 
the  yard,  if  need  were,  but  to  scrape  hides,  or  even  handle 
them,  was  out  of  the  question.  He  never  came  nearer  to 
being  a  tanner  than  this. 

About  a  mile  to  the  west  of  the  village  square  a  little 
stream  called  White  Oak  Creek  runs  through  a  deep  coulee, 
or  valley.  In  those  days  the  stream  was  a  strong,  swift 
current,  and  there  were  mills  for  grinding  corn  and  wheat 
located  along  its  banks ;  and  the  farmers  came  in  caravans 
from  the  clearings  far  to  the  north  with  grain  to  be  ground, 
and  at  night  they  camped  like  an  army-corps  in  the  splen 
did  open  forest  of  the  bottom-lands.  It  was  a  beautiful 
experience  for  the  boys  of  Georgetown  to  see  these  camp- 
fires  gleaming  all  over  the  lowlands,  to  hear  the  mules  and 
horses  call  for  supper,  to  see  the  smoke  curling  up,  and  to 
hear  the  hearty  talk  and  laughter  of  the  men.  This  was 
a  favorite  playing-ground  for  the  boys,  and  Ulysses  longed 
to  join  these  caravans. 

The  creek  was  full  of  fish  at  that  time.  There  were 
swimming-holes,  which  became  skating-ponds  in  due  sea 
son,  and  all  good  things  to  eat  grew  on  these  bottom 
lands.  Then,  too,  the  teams  filed  past  on  their  way  to 

10  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

Higginsport  with  their  flour  to  load  on  the  flatboats  bound 
for  New  Orleans.  It  all  had  mystery  and  allurement  in  it, 
and  one  of  the  strongest  passions  Ulysses  Grant  felt  at  this 
time  was  the  wish  to  travel — to  go  down  the  Ohio  River 
and  see  where  the  water  went  to ;  to  go  up  the  river  and 
find  where  the  flatboats  came  from.  He  said  little  of  this 
longing,  for  he  was  trained  to  hide  his  emotions. 

Ten  years  of  careful  management  made  Jesse  Grant  one 
of  the  well-to-do  citizens  of  the  town.  He  had  a  com 
fortable  brick  house,  he  wore  gold-bowed  glasses,  and  he 
possessed  a  carnage.  Most  people  went  afoot  or  on  horse 
back  in  that  day,  but  he  had  a  driving  outfit,  which 
Ulysses  began  to  use  when  a  mere  child.  "  At  eight  and 
a  half  years  he  had  become  a  regular  teamster,"  his  father 
states,  "  and  used  to  work  my  team  all  day,  day  after  day, 
hauling  wood.  At  about  ten  years  of  age  he  used  to 
drive  a  pair  of  horses  all  alone  from  Georgetown,  where 
he  lived,  to  Cincinnati,  forty  miles  away,  and  bring  home 
a  load  of  passengers." 

His  father  did  not  insist  on  his  working  about  the  bark- 
mill,  provided  he  obtained  a  substitute,  and  readily  enough 
intrusted  Ulysses  with  a  team,  and  was  quite  willing  for 
him  to  have  a  horse  of  his  own.  Indeed,  he  allowed  him 
to  manage  the  horses  and  take  part  in  the  farming.  Chil- 
ton  White,  one  of  his  playmates,  remembers  that  he  was 
always  busy.  "  He  was  a  stout,  rugged  boy,  with  a  good 
deal  of  sleight  in  his  work  with  a  team.  He  liked  horses, 
and  always  kept  his  span  fat  and  slick." 

When  Ulysses  was  in  his  twelfth  year,  a  traveling 
phrenologist  confirmed  the  father  in  his  belief  in  his  son's 
great  ability.  Of  this  famous  incident  there  are  two  ver 
sions.  The  father's  story  runs  thus : 

When  Ulysses  was  about  twelve  years  old  the  first 
phrenologist  who  ever  made  his  appearance  in  that  part  of 
the  country  came  to  the  neighborhood.  He  awakened  a 
good  deal  of  interest  in  the  science,  and  was  prevailed 
upon  to  remain  there  for  some  time.  One  Dr.  Buckner, 
who  was  rather  inclined  to  be  officious  on  most  occasions, 
in  order  to  test  the  accuracy  of  the  phrenologist,  asked 
him  if  he  would  be  blindfolded  and  examine  a  head. 

Stairway  in  the  Grant  homestead  at  Georgetown,  Ohio. 

From  a  photograph  taken  especially  for  this  work. 

Building  used  by  Jesse  R.  Grant  as  the  finishing-house  of  his 

tannery  at  Georgetown,  Ohio. 
It  still  stands,  opposite  the  old  Grant  homestead. 


This  was  at  one  of  his  public  lectures.  The  phrenologist 
replied  that  he  would.  So  they  blindfolded  him,  and 
Drought  Ulysses  forward  to  have  his  head  examined. 

He  felt  it  all  over  for  some  time,  saying,  apparently  to 
nimself :  "  It  is  no  very  common  head!  It  is  an  extraor 
dinary  head!  "  At  length  Dr.  Buckner  broke  in  to  ask 
whether  the  boy  would  be  likely  to  distinguish  himself  in 

"  Yes,"  said  the  phrenologist ;  "  in  mathematics  or  any 
thing  else.  It  would  not  be  strange  if  we  should  see  him 
President  of  the  United  States."  This  made  an  inefface 
able  impression  upon  the  father,  and  confirmed  him  in  his 
belief  that  his  son  Ulysses  was  a  child  of  destiny. 

The  village  version  of  the  incident  is  quite  different. 
With  all  his  shrewdness  and  energy,  the  neighbors  say, 
there  was  a  strain  of  singular  guilelessness  in  Jesse  Grant. 
He  was  credulous  and  simple — in  the  old  meaning  of  the 
word  "simple." 

According  to  their  report,  Dr.  Buckner  was  only  put 
ting  up  a  practical  joke  on  his  neighbor  Grant.  As  the 
timid  and  blushing  Ulysses  was  pushed  forward  to  the 
platform  the  crowd  began  to  titter,  and  the  quick-witted 
lecturer  seized  upon  the  situation.  It  was  to  him  another 
numskull  son  of  a  doting  father.  As  he  muttered  to 
m'mself  the  crowd  roared  with  delight.  He  spoke  over  this 
boy's  head  the  same  word  of  prophecy  he  had  used  in  a 
hundred  similar  cases.  It  was  a  perfectly  successful  joke. 
The  father  believed  the  cheering  to  be  in  honor  of  his  son. 
Ridicule  made  no  difference  with  him ;  he  stuck  to  his 
faith  unshakably. 

His  faith,  moreover,  expressed  itself  in  deeds.  He  sent 
Ulysses  to  school,  in  face  of  much  discouragement.  Being 
mindful  of  his  own  lack  of  education,  and  believing  in  his 
son,  Jesse  Grant  was  always  an  active  supporter  of  the 
teacher.  At  a  time  when  "  book-1'arnin'  "  was  at  a  sad 
discount,  and  when  every  hand  was  needed  to  make  a  liv 
ing,  the  indomitable  tanner  kept  his  son  in  school,  not  let 
ting  him  miss  a  day,  thus  setting  his  grim  lips  firmly  in 
the  face  of  derision. 

Mrs.  Grant's  sweetness  and  strength  of  character  kep* 

12  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

her  one  of  the  best  beloved  women  of  the  town,  while  her 
husband's  outspoken,  dogmatic  opinions  upon  all  public 
policies  made  him  to  be  both  disliked  and  respected. 

He  was  withal  a  sober  man  and  an  honorable  man,  and 
Mrs.  Grant  was  considered  a  fortunate  woman  by  her 
neighbors  because  her  husband  was  "such  a  good  pro 
vider."  The  Grant  house  was  considered  one  of  the  best 
furnished  in  the  neighborhood.  Mrs.  Grant  acquiesced  in 
the  plans  to  make  Ulysses  a  great  man,  and  through  her 
efforts  he  was  always  nicely  dressed  and  ready  for  school. 
How  much  further  her  love  went  she  gave  little  sign. 

The  feeling  against  Jesse  Grant  on  the  part  of  the  pro- 
slavery  element  developed  rancor  on  the  part  of  many  of 
the  village  boys  toward  Ulysses,  and  he  suffered  thereby 
not  a  little.  According  to  the  tales  of  old  residents,  the 
boys  "were  always  laying  for  him,"  and  stories  are  still 
current  in  Georgetown  which  are  calculated  to  make  him 
out  a  stupid  lad.  Of  such  is  the  famous  horse-trade  story, 
wherein  Ulysses  is  said  to  have  raised  his  own  bid  two 
points  without  waiting  for  answer  on  the  part  of  the  seller. 

In  spite  of  these  stories,  it  appears  that  the  boys  who 
knew  him  best  had  a  high  regard  for  him.  He  had  a  way 
of  doing  things  which  commanded  respect.  He  had  trav 
eled  a  great  deal,  —  he  had  been  to  Cincinnati,  to  Maysville, 
and  to  Louisville  on  business  for  his  father,  —  and  he  had  a 
team  to  drive  just  as  if  it  were  his  own.  These  things 
entitled  him  to  a  certain  respect  on  the  part  of  his  comrades. 

"There  were,  in  fact,  two  sets  of  boys  in  the  town,  one 
very  rough,  and  one  very  quiet  set  —  that  is  to  say,  well- 
meaning;  for  while  they  were  full  of  fun  and  noise,  they 
were  good,  clean  boys;  they  did  not  use  liquor  or  tobacco; 
and  it  was  to  this  company  that  Ulysses  belonged.  It  was  his 
habit  to  associate  with  boys  older  than  himself,  and  this,  with 
his  staid  demeanor,  made  him  seem  older  than  his  years." 

He  seldom  did  anything  which  could  even  be  called 
thoughtless.*  "He  was  the  soul  of  honor,"  another  play 
mate  bears  witness. 

*  Judge  James  Marshall  tells  an  amusing  story  of  his  hospitable  nature. 
There  had  been  a  cholera  scare  in  town,  and  Uncle  Jesse,  being  one  of  the 
few  men  who  had  traveled  and  knew  a  thing  or  two,  was  commissioned  to  go 
to  Maysville  and  procure  a  supply  of  the  cholera  medicine  which  was  used  at 


At  ten  years  of  age  he  had  become  a  remarkable  team 
ster.  He  amazed  his  companions  by  his  ability  to  manage 
and  train  horses.  There  was  something  mysterious  in  his 
power  to  communicate  to  a  horse  his  wishes.  He  could 
train  a  horse  to  trot,  rack,  or  pace,  apparently  at  will.  He 
would  do  any  honorable  thing  in  order  to  ride  or  drive  a 
fine  horse. 

When  he  was  about  eleven  years  of  age  he  made  a 
reputation  among  the  boys  by  riding  the  trick  pony  of  a 
circus  which  came  in  trailing  clouds  of  glorified  dust,  one 
summer  day,  like  a  scene  from  the  "  Arabian  Nights." 

"  It  was  a  small  animal  show  and  circus,"  said  Judge 
Marshall,  "  and  one  part  of  the  entertainment  was  to  turn 
a  kangaroo  loose  in  the  ring,  and  ask  some  lively-footed 
boy  to  catch  it.  I  considered  myself  a  pretty  good  runner 
in  those  days,  and  I  tried  to  catch  the  kangaroo,  to  the 
vast  amusement  of  the  people  looking  on.  Ulysses,  how 
ever,  was  a  plump  boy,  and  not  a  good  runner.  He  made 
no  attempt  at  the  kangaroo,  but  was  deeply  interested  in 
the  trick  pony  which  had  been  trained  to  throw  off  any  boy 
who  attempted  to  ride  him.  He  was  a  very  fat  bay  pony, 
with  no  mane,  and  nothing  at  all  to  hang  to.  Ulysses 
looked  on  for  a  while,  saw  several  of  the  other  boys  try 
and  fail,  and  at  last  said:  '  I  believe  I  can  ride  that  pony.' 
He  anticipated  the  pony's  attempts  to  throw  him  off  by 
leaning  down  and  putting  his  arms  around  the  pony's  neck. 
The  pony  reared,  kicked,  and  did  everything  he  knew  to 
unhorse  Ulysses,  but  failed ;  and  at  last  the  clown  acknow 
ledged  the  pony's  defeat,  and  paid  the  five  dollars  which 

that  time.  He  brought  back  a  demijohn  of  blackberry  cordial,  and  a  jug  of 
medicine  of  that  time  which  was  popularly  known  as  "No.  6."  No.  6 
had  various  uses ;  it  was  a  good  thing  to  rub  on  a  sprain,  bruise,  etc.  One 
Sunday,  shortly  afterward,  while  the  old  people  were  all  at  church,  the  boys, 
tired  with  turning  handsprings  on  the  tan-bark,  expressed  a  thirst,  and  Ulys 
ses  invited  them  all  to  come  down  cellar  and  test  the  cholera  medicine.  "  We 
did  not  know  how  it  was  to  be  taken,"  said  Judge  Marshall,  "  but  I  know 
how  we  took  it.  With  fine  generosity,  Ulysses  offered  us  the  No.  6,  and  we 
tasted  it,  and  we  did  not  like  it.  He  then  asked  us  to  try  the  blackberry 
cordial,  which  we  did,  and  liked ;  and  thereafter  we  often  went  down  cellar  to 
have  a  pull  at  the  cholera  medicine.  I  don't  know  whether  we  took  it  right 
or  not,  but  certain  it  is  we  did  not  take  the  cholera.  ...  At  this  time  Ulysses 
was  a  plump,  short,  ruddy,  staid,  manly  boy,  never  given  to  pranks.  He 
never  backed  out  of  anything,  and  avoided  any  prominence;  what  he  had  to 
do  he  did  well  and  promptly." 

14  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

he  had  promised  to  the  boy  who  would  ride  him.  As 
Ulysses  turned  away  with  the  five  dollars  in  his  hand,  he 
said  to  the  boys  standing  round :  '  Why,  that  pony  is  as 
slick  as  an  apple.' ' 

There  are  stories,  also,  which  seem  to  illustrate  his  fer 
tility  of  resource  in  practical  affairs,  and  others  to  show 
his  pertinacity  of  purpose. 

He  was  a  successful  farmer,  and  liked  it  very  much ;  in 
fact,  his  life  was  nearer  that  of  a  farmer's  boy  than  a 
tanner's  son.  He  was  thrifty,  too.  "  While  the  other  boys 
were  at  play  he  was  earning  a  quarter."  All  testimony 
points  to  his  being  a  very  busy  and  resourceful  boy. 
He  always  had  pocket-money  earned  by  teaming.  He 
worked  willingly  and  steadily  at  hauling,  breaking  bark, 
and  plowing. 

When  he  was  not  at  work  about  the  tannery  or  farm,  he 
was  conveying  travelers  to  Ripley,  to  Maysville,  to  Hig- 
ginsport,  to  West  Union,  or  to  Cincinnati.  In  this  way 
he  earned  enough  money  to  buy  a  horse  of  his  own. 
Once,  when  he  was  about  thirteen  years  of  age,  he  took 
a  couple  of  lawyers  across  country  to  Toledo.  Every 
body  was  astonished  to  think  Uncle  Jesse  would  trust  his 
boy  on  such  a  long  trip. 

"  Are  n't  you  afraid  he  '11  get  into  trouble  on  the  way  ?  " 

"Oh,  no,"  replied  the  proud  sire;  "he  '11  take  care  of 

To  understand  to  the  full  the  resolution  and  good  judg 
ment  required  on  this  trip  of  several  hundred  miles,  it 
must  be  remembered  that  in  1835  there  were  few  pikes  or 
bridges,  and  the  streams  were  much  deeper  to  ford  than 
now.  Jesse  often  sent  his  son  to  make  collections  or  to 
transact  important  business.  The  boy  certainly  did  not 
lack  for  employment,  and  yet,  in  the  midst  of  teaming, 
grinding  bark,  and  going  to  school,  he  found  time  to  have 
a  little  fun. 

It  was  a  good  boy's  country.  It  produced  not  merely 
great  trees,  and  corn,  and  wheat:  it  produced  pawpaws, 
and  grapes,  and  May-apples,  and  blackberries,  and  hickory- 
nuts,  and  beechnuts,  and  all  kinds  of  forage  for  boys. 
These  things,  in  due  season,  they  plucked  and  hoarded,  in 


the  alert  seriousness  of  squirrels  or  young  savages.  Ulysses 
was  often  of  these  parties,  and  in  winter  many  pleasant 
evenings  were  spent  before  the  hearth,  cracking  nuts,  in 
company  with  the  White  or  Marshall  boys.  He  could 
swim  well,  but  was  a  poor  fisherman ;  he  could  play  ball 
fairly  well,  and  he  could  ride  standing  on  one  foot  upon  the 
back  of  a  galloping  horse.  In  winter-time  he  was  a  dar 
ing  and  much-admired  coaster  down  the  steep  street 
which  fell  away  sharply  from  the  square  and  ran  past  the 
tan-yard  and  the  Grant  homestead.  It  is  a  fine  country 
to  coast  in,  with  many  long,  curving  slopes  of  road  running 
under  magnificent  trees,  and  past  clumps  of  brush,  and 
over  bridges. 

He  was  a  great  favorite  with  the  girls,  though  he  was 
not  a  demonstrative  lover.  He  was  kind  and  considerate 
of  them,  never  rude  and  boisterous,  and  never  derisive. 
"  He  was  one  of  the  few  boys  who  had  a  team  and  sleigh 
at  their  disposal,  and  he  took  the  girls  a-sleighing,"  sitting 
silently  in  the  midst  of  their  shrieking  and  chatter.  He 
never  teased  children  younger  than  himself,  or  tortured 
animals.  So  runs  the  testimony  of  the  women  who  knew 
him  as  a  boy.  He  had  the  effect  always  of  being  a  good 
listener,  and  was  counted  good  company,  though  never  an 
entertainer.  "  He  was  more  like  a  grown  person  than  a  boy. " 

He  was  at  fifteen  a  good-looking  boy,  with  a  large 
head,  strong,  straight  nose,  quiet  gray-blue  eyes,  and  flexi 
ble  lips.  He  was  short  and  sturdy,  with  fine  hands  and 
feet.  "  He  was  not  a  brilliant  boy,  but  he  was  a  good 
boy,"  "  a  refined  boy,"  "  the  soul  of  honor."  "  He  never 
swore  or  used  vulgar  words,  and  he  was  notably  consider 
ate  and  unselfish."  There  is  little  record  of  his  fighting. 

Of  his  education  in  Georgetown  little  can  be  said.  He 
had  been  schooled  of  nature  and  by  work  and  play,  but 
up  to  his  fourteenth  year  he  had  attended  only  the 
winter  session  of  John  D.  White's  subscription  school,* 

*  The  following  dunning  letter  would  seem  to  indicate  that  there  were  those 
who  could  not,  or  would  not,  pay,  even  in  "  truck  "  : 

DISTRICT  SCHOOL-HOUSE,  March  5,  1829. 

DEAR  SIR:  Justice  to  myself  and  family  compels  me  to  make  out  my 
accompts  and  endeavor  to  collect  them.  I  hope  you  will  not  be  offended  at 
my  sending  you  this  scribble,  for  I  have  not  time  to  run  about  and  make 

16  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

which  "took  up"  in  a  long  low  brick  building  standing 
on  a  knoll  to  the  south  of  the  town.  Schools  in  country 
towns  of  that  day  were  not  taken  very  seriously  by  most 
of  the  citizens.  To  be  able  to  read  and  write  and  cipher 
was  considered  very  fair  attainment.  There  were  those, 
it  is  true,  who  wished  their  sons  and  daughters  to  study 
Lindley  Murray  and  higher  mathematics,  but  such  ambi 
tions  were  considered  of  questionable  virtue.  Ulysses 
was  a  quiet  boy  at  school.  "  He  never  whispered  or 
spoke  in  a  low  voice  as  if  afraid  to  be  heard." 

He  won  the  admiration  of  his  classmates  in  drawing. 
"  He  could  draw  a  horse  and  put  a  man  on  him." 
He  was  strong  also  in  mathematics — would  not  let  his 
classmates  show  him  the  way  to  do  problems,  but  always 
wanted  to  work  them  out  himself.  A  certain  wordless 
ness  and  lack  of  dash,  together  with  a  peculiar  guile- 
lessness,  drew  upon  him  the  ridicule  of  the  rude.  His 
language  was  so  simple  and  bare  of  all  slang  and  profanity 
that  it  seemed  poor  and  weak  to  his  comrades.  He 
suffered  a  certain  persecution  during  all  his  days  in 

collections.  If  I  have  got  anything  of  you  that  I  have  not  booked  I  am  will 
ing  to  settle  for  it. 

You  have  paid  me  as  follows : 

In  cash $2.  oo 

214  pounds  beef  at  2  cts 4.28 

One  bushel  corn    25 

Flour 50 

Pork  50 

2  baskets  corn   i6f 

My  acpt.  for  1826  is $7-35! 

for  1827 8.00 

for  1828 4.22^ 

$19.58^    This  is  for  the  time 
7.69!-     you  sent,  and  not  ac- 
cording  to  your  sub- 
Balance  due  $i  1.88^     scription. 

Yours,  etc.,  in  haste, 



JESSE  GRANT  was  a  close  reckoner  in  ordinary  deal 
ings,  but  he  was  more  liberal  with  his  son  than  most 
fathers  of  the  village ;  and  the  winter  that  Ulysses  was 
fourteen  he  sent  him  to  school  in  Maysville,  a  larger  town 
just  across  the  river,  in  Kentucky,  fifteen  or  twenty  miles 
from  Georgetown.  This  was  done  in  the  hope  that 
something  a  little  better  might  be  had  in  the  way  of 

No  doubt  the  boy  gladly  accepted  the  opportunity,  for 
Maysville  was  a  city  to  him,  and,  besides,  there  were  the 
steamboats,  the  beautiful  river,  and  the  wharves  with 
their  daily  passenger  and  freight  traffic.  It  was  an  old 
town,  filled  with  houses  of  the  old  English  type,  such  as 
Boston  and  Baltimore  have  in  their  older  streets.  It  was 
a  straggling  town,  extending  along  the  sloping  bank 
between  the  river  and  the  bluffs  behind.  It  was  on  slave 
soil,  but  it  was  not  without  its  antislavery  element  even 
at  that  day.  Jesse  Grant,  it  is  said,  helped  to  found  the 
first  abolition  society  in  Kentucky,  in  1823. 

It  was  a  finer  place  for  a  boy's  life  than  Georgetown. 
There  were  boating,  swimming,  and  fishing  in  summer, 
and  beautiful  skating  and  superb  coasting  in  winter.  Qf 
his  life  in  Maysville  we  know  little;  but  his  old  teacher 
and  some  of  his  classmates  remember  him  well  as  a 
very  quiet,  pleasant  boy.  The  vicious  side  of  life  never, 
seemed  to  attract  him,  and  he  did  nothing  to  set  himself 
distinctively  above  or  below  his  fellows.  Richeson,  his 
teacher,  was  a  college-bred  man  of  liberal  tastes,  and  his 


l8  LIFE   OF    GRANT 

methods  as  a  teacher  were  peculiar  and  original.  He 
made  a  strong  and  gracious  impression  on  young  Grant, 
who  "  ranked  high  in  all  his  classes,  and  his  deportment 
was  exceptionally  good." 

While  attending  the  Maysville  Seminary  Ulysses 
boarded  with  the  family  of  his  uncle,  Peter  Grant,  who 
was  largely  engaged  in  the  salt  trade. 

An  old  book  containing  the  records  of  the  Philoma- 
thean  Society  of  Maysville,  Kentucky,  has  something 
recorded  of  young  Grant.  Apparently  he  entered  the 
club  for  the  first  time  at  its  thirty-third  meeting,  January 
3,  1837,  and  took  a  prominent  part  at  once.  By  a 
curious  coincidence,  the  question  for  this  first  evening  was, 
"  Resolved,  That  the  Texans  were  not  justifiable  in  giving 
Santa  Ana  his  liberty."  In  the  names  of  the  debaters  this 
night  there  appears  on  the  record  "  H.  U.  Grant."  He 
was  on  the  affirmative  side.  He  was  on  the  affirmative  side 
at  the  thirty-fourth  meeting,  with  this  question,  "  Re 
solved,  That  females  wield  greater  influence  in  society 
than  males."  The  affirmative  side  won  in  this  case  as 
well  as  in  the  other.  At  the  thirty-fifth  meeting  his  name 
appears  on  the  affirmative  of  the  question  (a  very  vital 
one  at  that  time),  "Resolved,  That  it  would  not  be  just 
and  politic  to  liberate  the  slaves  at  this  time."  Again  he 
was  on  the  winning  side. 

At  the  thirty-sixth  meeting  the  name  appears  "  U. 
Grant"  on  the  affirmative  side  of  the  resolution,  "That 
intemperance  is  a  greater  evil  than  war." 

At  the  thirty-seventh  meeting  "Mr.  Grant"  submitted 
the  following  resolution  :  "  Resolved,  That  it  be  considered 
out  of  order  for  any  member  to  speak  on  the  opposite 
side  to  which  he  is  placed."  On  this  same  evening  he 
was  elected,  together  with  his  friends  A.  H.  Markland 
and  W.  Richeson,  as  a  member  of  the  committee.  He 
also  took  part  in  the  debate  on  the  question,  "  Resolved, 
That  Socrates  was  right  in  not  escaping  when  the  prison 
doors  were  opened  to  him."  He  took  the  affirmative,  and 
it  was  again  the  successful  side. 

At  the  thirty-eighth  meeting  Ulysses  Grant  and  E.  M. 
Richeson  were  appointed  to  declaim  at  the  next  meeting. 


He  was  again  on  the  affirmative  side  of  the  debate  on  the 
question,  "  Resolved,  That  the  writer  deserves  more  praise 
than  the  orator." 

At  the  thirty-ninth  meeting  we  find  this  significant 
line :  "  First  declaim  by  E.  M.  Richeson ;  second,  the  roll 
being  called,  U.  Grant  was  found  to  be  absent."  His 
name  appears,  however,  on  the  negative  side  of  the  ques 
tion,  "That  the  writer  deserves  more  praise  than  the 

His  name  appears  once  more  on  the  question,  "  Resolved, 
That  Columbus  deserves  more  praise  for  discovering 
America  than  Washington  did  for  defending  it."  He  took 
the  negative  side  of  this  question. 

He  was  on  the  negative  side,  at  the  forty-second  meet 
ing,  on  the  question,  "  Resolved,  That  America  can  boast  of 
as  great  men  as  any  other  nation,"  March  27,  1837. 

Grant's  name  does  not  appear  in  the  records  of  the 
debating  society  after  March,  1837;  the  probabilities  are 
that  he  returned  home  to  put  in  the  crop. 

There  was  a  fine  flavor  about  this  society.  It  had  a 
Latin  motto,  and  debated  the  most  weighty  questions 
that  the  world  has  ever  grappled  with.  It  would  seem 
from  its  record  that  Grant  was  a  willing  debater,  but  that 
he  would  rather  pay  six  and  a  quarter  cents  fine  than 
declaim.  He  was  prominent  in  nine  meetings,  and,  so  far 
as  we  know,  was  an  active  member. 

However,  his  was  not  a  nature  that  showed  its  hidden 
powers  early,  and  he  returned  to  Georgetown  the  next 
spring,  not  very  much  changed  in  looks  or  habit.  He 
remained  in  Georgetown  during  the  ensuing  year,  sharing 
the  life  and  amusements  of  its  best  young  people  attend 
ing  the  village  school  in  the  winter. 

Of  indoor  amusements  there  were  few.  The  better 
class  of  people  in  the  village  took  a  serious,  if  not  somber, 
view  of  life.  Dancing  was  prohibited ;  the  fiddle  was 
seldom  heard.  There  were  no  musical  instruments,  and 
little  singing,  save  of  wailing  hymns  and  droning  psalms. 
As  the  walls  were  bare  of  ornament,  so  the  souls  of  these 
people  were  without  color  of  art  or  charm  of  poesy. 
Intelligence  they  had,  and  probity  and  power,  but  not 

20  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

grace.  However,  each  year  liberalized  them  appreciably, 
and  the  usual  rustic  social  pleasures — bussing-bees,  pars 
ing-bees,  spelling-bees,  and  the  like — came  in. 

Books  were  almost  unknown,  except  volumes  of  ser 
mons  or  religious  essays.  The  school-books  of  the  day 
were  the  English  Reader,  the  Columbian  Orator,  Comstock's 
Philosophy,  and  Comstock's  Arithmetic.  The  readers 
were  filled  with  strenuously  ethical  essays,  and  tremen 
dously  bombastic  orations,  and  very  dry  blank  verse.  It 
was  all  very  far  removed  from  southern  Ohio  colloquial 
isms.  On  the  bureau  of  the  Grant  sitting-room,  it  is  re 
membered,  there  stood  a  little  cabinet  containing  possibly 
thirty  books.  What  these  were  there  is  no  tradition  to 
tell.  Presumably  they  were  not  of  fine  literature,*  though 
Jesse  Grant  was  naturally  a  lover  of  reading.  Such  books 
as  came  his  way  he  read  with  care. 

He  attended  the  Methodist  Church,  though  hardly  so 
devo  ed  in  his  religious  life  as  his  wife.  Neither  of  them, 
however,  could  in  their  hearts  completely  sanction  the 
barbarisms  of  the  church  of  that  day,  which  allowed  of 
"shouting"  and  "frenzy."  The  "jerks"  and  "  falling". were 
common  when  sinners  were  "smit  by  the  Lord  Almighty's 
power."  Religion  was  not  merely  serious,  it  was  tragic,  in 
those  days;  the  shadow  of  the  Reformation  still  hung 
above  it.  "  Hannah  Grant  was  deeply  religious,  but  very 
tolerant."  She  never  interfered  with  any  rational  and 
proper  amusement  of  her  children. 

Ulysses,  being  a  healthy-minded  boy,  recoiled  from 
the  frenzy  of  the  "  revival,"  and  there  is  no  evidence  that 
it  made  any  other  impression  upon  him  than  one  of  fear 
or  astonishment.  His  mother's  gentle  creed  and  spotless 
life,  however,  he  felt  ineffaceably.  There  is  no  record 
that  either  father  or  mother  ever  used  any  strong  effort  to 
induce  him  to  join  the  church,  though  they  insisted  on 
his  recognition  of  the  Sabbath.  His  home  life  was  pleas 
ant.  "  I  never  received  a  harsh  word  or  suffered  an  unjust 

*  One  of  these  was  probably  the  famous  old  Weems  "  Life  of  Washing 
ton,"  for  Jesse  Grant  speaks  of  Ulysses  reading  the  "  Life  of  Washington  " 
at  about  seven  years  of  age.  The  lad  was  not  much  of  a  reader,  however. 
"  He  cared  more  for  horses  than  for  books." 


act  from  my  father  or  mother,"  he  once  said;  and  it  is  a 
good  deal  to  say  of  any  parents. 

His  sixteenth  year  was  spent  at  home  in  Georgetown, 
beloved  by  his  playmates,  and  happy  in  his  activity  with 
team  and  plow.  His  only  bugbear  was  the  beam-room, 
where  the  reeking  hides  are  stretched  and  scraped.  It 
is  a  repulsive  place  to  a  sensitive  person,  and  Ulysses 
expected  to  be  called  soon  to  take  his  place  there.  He 
was  growing  toward  a  man's  capacities, — indeed,  he  was 
more  capable  than  most  men  already, — and  the  grim-lipped 
father  was  pondering  upon  the  son's  future.  This  Ulysses 
saw,  but  waited,  as  was  his  habit,  for  the  other  person  to 

One  day  they  were  short  of  hands  in  the  tannery,  and 
Jesse  said : 

"  Ulysses,  you  '11  have  to  go  into  the  beam-room  and 
help  me  to-day." 

Ulysses  reluctantly  followed,  for  thus  far  he  had  es 
caped  that  work.  As  he  walked  beside  his  father  he  said  : 

"  Father,  this  tanning  is  not  the  kind  of  work  I  like. 
I  '11  work  at  it,  though,"  he  sturdily  added,  "  if  you  wish 
me  to,  until  I  am  twenty-one ;  but  you  may  depend  upon 
it,  I  '11  never  work  a  day  longer  at  it  after  that." 

Jesse  Grant,  being  a  reasonable  man,  immediately 
replied : 

"  My  son,  I  don't  want  you  to  work  at  it  now,  if  you 
don't  like  it,  and  don't  mean  to  stick  to  it.  I  want  you  to 
work  at  whatever  you  like  and  intend  to  follow.  Now, 
what  do  you  think  you  would  like?" 

"  I  'd  like  to  be  a  farmer,  or  a  down-the-river  trader,  or 
get  an  education."  He  put  the  education  last,  in  his  mod 
est  way. 

The  little  farm  on  which  Ulysses  had  been  working  in 
years  past  was  rented  out,  and  down-the-river  trading 
hardly  pleased  the  father,  and  times  being  very  close,  he 
did  n't  see  how  he  could  send  the  boy  away  to  school. 
He  thought  of  West  Point,  and  said : 

"How  would  you  like  West  Point?  You  know,  the 
education  is  free  there,  and  the  government  supports  the 
cadets.  How  would  you  like  to  go  there  ?  " 

22  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

"  First-rate,"  Ulysses  promptly  replied.* 

His  life  thus  far  had  been  such  as  makes  a  boy  older 
than  his  years,  but  it  had  not  given  him  much  in  way  of 
preparation  for  West  Point,  and  it  is  probable  that  he  did 
not  really  imagine  himself  a  successful  candidate  for  the 
appointment.  He  said  little  about  the  plan,  for  he  had 
suffered  too  keenly  from  the  ridicule  of  his  playmates, 
who  made  a  never-ending  mock  of  his  father's  prophecy 
of  his  son's  future  greatness.  There  seems  no  doubt  of 
this,  though  he  never  alluded  to  it.f  Undoubtedly  this 
constant  derision  added  to  his  reticence  and  apparent 

Even  at  fifteen  years  of  age  he  had  a  superstition  that 
to  retreat  was  fatal.  When  he  set  hand  to  any  plan,  or 
started  upon  any  journey,  he  felt  the  necessity  of  going 
to  the  turn  of  the  lane  or  to  the  end  of  the  furrow.  He 
was  resolute  and  unafraid  always,  a  boy  to  be  trusted 
and  counted  upon — sturdy,  capable  of  hard  knocks. 
What  he  was  in  speech  he  was  in  grain.  If  he  said,  "  I 
can  do  that,"  he  not  merely  meant  that  he  would  try  to 
do  it,  but  also  that  he  had  thought  his  way  to  the  suc 
cessful  end  of  the  task.  He  was,  in  fact,  an  unusually 
determined  and  resourceful  boy,  as  the  stories  of  his  neigh 
bors  show.  Some  of  the  good  people  of  Georgetown, 
Ripley,  and  Batavia,  however,  went  far  in  their  attempt 
to  show  how  very  ordinary  Ulysses  Grant  was.  One 
measure  of  greatness  they  always  had  in  these  small 
towns — oratory,  "gab."  If  a  man  was  able  to  make  a 
speech  he  became  at  once  a  man  of  mark.  If  a  boy  could 
declaim  or  debate  well  he  was  called  brilliant ;  conversely, 
one  who  could  not  was  "  ordinary." 

In  the  small  minds  of  envious  people,  a  boy  of  thirteen 
who  could  drive  a  team  six  hundred  miles  across  country, 
and  arrive  safely  ;  who  could  load  a  wagon  with  heavy  logs 
by  his  own  mechanical  ingenuity ;  who  insisted  on  solving 


*  From  a  letter  written  to  the  New  York  "Ledger"  by  Jesse  Grant  in  1868. 
This  does  not  agree  with  the  account  in  the  "  Memoirs  "  of  U.  S.  Grant,  but  it 
seems  a  very  natural  decision  on  the  boy's  part. 

t  This  ridicule  is  alluded  to  by  W.  T.  Galbreath,  Chilton  White,  Nelson  Water 
man,  O.  Eadwards,  and  other  citizens  of  Brown  County. 


all  mathematical  problems  himself;  who  never  whispered, 
or  lied,  or  swore,  or  quarreled  ;  who  could  train  a  horse  to 
pace  or  trot  at  will ;  who  stood  squarely  upon  his  own 
knowledge  of  things,  without  resorting  to  trick  or  mere 
memory — such  a  boy  was  stupid,  dull,  and  commonplace. 
That  Ulysses  was  not  showy  or  easily  valued  as  a  talker 
was  true.  His  unusualness  was  in  the  balance  of  his 
character,  in  his  poise,  his  native  judgment,  and  in  his 
knowledge  of  things  at  first  hand. 



TO  go  to  West  Point  was  a  great  distinction  in  1839, 
especially  to  the  son  of  a  Western  tanner.  It  meant, 
supposedly,  association  with  brilliant  young  men  from  all 
over  the  United  States,  assembled  in  a  historic  and  most 
beautiful  spot.  It  meant  a  free  education  in  a  good 
school,  and  also  an  honorable  position  under  the  govern 
ment  after  graduation.  Jesse  Grant  had  in  him  the  military 
heart  of  Captain  Noah  Grant.  His  strong,  alert,  aggres 
sive  nature  assorted  well  with  military  affairs.  Whether 
he  intended  that  Ulysses  should  be  educated  for  a  soldier, 
however,  is  in  doubt;  perhaps  the  distinction  of  having 
his  son  appointed  was  secondary  only  to  his  feeling  that 
the  four  years'  schooling  was  to  be  free. 

Having  decided  upon  the  plan,  however,  he  set  to 
work  to  carry  it  out.  The  outlook  was  not,  at  the 
moment,  promising.  The  congressional  appointment  was 
filled,  and  even  if  it  had  not  been,  he  no  longer  felt 
assured  of  aid ;  for  a  year  or  two  before  he  had  fallen  into 
violent  discussion  of  the  banking  question  with  his  friend 
and  neighbor,  the  Hon.  Thomas  L.  Hamer,  congressman 
from  Brown  County.  They  had  succeeded  in  saying 
bitter  things,  and  had  parted  in  anger ;  and  they  were  no 
longer  in  correspondence,  and  did  not  shake  hands  when 
they  met  on  the  street,*  though  secretly  each  felt  for  the 
other  the  same  high  regard,  and  Mr.  Hamer  loved  Ulysses 
as  if  he  were  a  son,  and  held  Hannah  Grant  in  high  esteem 
as  a  most  noble  and  capable  woman. 

During  this  estrangement  Mr.  Hamer  appointed  to  the 

*  "Memoirs." 


cadetship  George  Bartlett  Bailey,  a  son  of  Dr.  Bailey, 
who  lived  just  across  the  street,  and  whose  family  was 
very  intimate  with  the  Grant  household.  The  Bailey 
children  used  to  lighten  the  labors  of  the  Grant  boys  at 
the  bark-mill,  and  the  girls  of  the  two  families  were  daily 

Bart,  as  he  was  called,  was  a  brilliant  boy  in  all  ways — 
quite  the  opposite  of  Ulysses.  He  could  talk,  he  recited 
happily,  and  was  considered  just  the  proper  youth  to  be 
sent  to  West  Point ;  and  his  appointment  was  heartily  ap 
plauded  in  the  village.  He  was  about  the  age  of  Ulysses. 

The  records  of  his  career  are  very  brief. 

According  to  the  adjutant's  books,  he  reported  at  the 
academy  in  July,  1837.  In  February,  1838,  he  resigned, 
and  entered  a  private  school  for  a  year's  further  prepara 
tion.  In  July,  1838,  he  was  reappointed,  and  registered. 

In  February,  1839,  he  again  resigned,  and  no  reason 
appears.  So  far  as  the  records  show,  he  passed  both 
January  examinations,  and  struggled  hard,  apparently,  to 
remain.  In  some  mysterious  way  he  failed — probably 
because  he  detested  the  strict  life  and  hard  drill  of  the 
barracks.  This  much  is  certain  :  he  made  way  for  Ulysses 
Grant.  "It  was  to  be"  the  old  adjutant's  clerk  said,  with 
a  mystic  gleam  in  his  eye. 

Young  Bailey's  secret  resignation  was  not  known  in 
Georgetown  at  the  time.  He  had  not  returned,  and  the 
family  felt  that  the  boy  would  be  misunderstood,  and  had 
been  at  pains  to  keep  the  news  from  their  neighbors.  Mr. 
Grant,  not  being  in  communication  with  Congressman 
Hamer,  supposed  the  place  still  filled.  However,  knowing 
that  each  senator  also  had  the  power  to  appoint  a  cadet, 
the  determined  father  wrote  to  United  States  Senator 
Thomas  Morris  of  Ohio,  asking  if  he  had  a  vacancy  in  his 

Senator  Morris  replied :  "  I  have  not.  There  being  no 
application  for  the  cadetship,  I  waived  my  right  to  appoint 
in  favor  of  a  member  of  Congress  from  Pennsylvania.  But 
there  is  a  vacancy  in  your  own  district,  and  doubtless  Mr. 
Hamer,  your  representative,  will  fill  it  with  your  son,"* 
*  Richardson's  "  Life  of  Grant." 

26  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

This  was  news  to  Grant,  and  he  immediately  wrote  to 
Mr.  Hamer  a  polite  and  dignified  letter :  * 

GEORGETOWN,  February  19,  1839. 

DEAR  SIR:  In  consequence  of  a  remark  from  Mr.  Morris 
(senator  from  Ohio),  I  was  induced  to  apply  to  the  War  De 
partment,  through  him,  for  a  cadet  appointment  for  my  son,  H. 
Ulysses.  A  letter  this  morning  received  from  the  department 
informs  me  that  your  consent  will  be  necessary  to  enable  him  to 
obtain  the  appointment.  I  have  thought  it  advisable  to  consult 
you  on  the  subject,  and  if  you  have  no  other  person  in  view  for 
the  appointment,  and  feel  willing  to  consent  to  the  appointment 
of  Ulysses,  you  will  please  signify  that  consent  to  the  department. 
When  I  last  wrote  to  Mr.  Morris  I  referred  him  to  you  to  recom 
mend  the  young  man,  if  that  were  necessary. 

Respectfully  yours, 


(See  recommendations.) 

Mr.  Hamer  generously  did  not  allow  the  trouble 
between  himself  and  Mr.  Grant  to  interfere  with  the 
future  of  Ulysses,  whom  he  thoroughly  believed  in.  He 
promptly  gave  his  indorsement,  and  Ulysses  was  ap 
pointed.  It  is  pleasant  to  add  that  by  this  manly  act  the 
Hamers  and  Grants  were  reunited.  It  may  also  be  re 
marked  here  that  Jesse  Grant  was  a  remarkably  fine 
letter-writer  for  those  days.  His  letters  are  models  of 
neatness  and  legibility,  and  not  a  little  subtlety  of  expres 
sion  is  in  them. 

It  is  the  tradition  in  Georgetown  that  when  the  news 
of  Ulysses  Grant's  appointment  came,  the  people  were 
amazed.  Some  laughed,  but  others  were  indignant  that 
such  a  clodpoll  should  be  sent  to  be  educated  by  the 
government.  One  man,  meeting  Mr.  Grant  on  the  street, 

"  I  hear  Ulysses  is  appointed  to  West  Point.     Is  that  so  ?  " 

"Yes,  sir." 

*  This  letter,  hitherto  unpublished,  and  one  which  Ulysses  Grant  saved, 
is  valuable  for  several  things.  It  fixes  the  boy's  name,  and  the  method 
of  appointment.  This  letter  is  now  in  possession  of  the  Hamer  family. 
The  Grants  were  unaware  of  its  existence  at  the  time  the  "  Memoirs"  ap 


"  Well,  that  's  a  nice  job !  Why  did  n't  they  appoint  a 
boy  that  would  be  a  credit  to  the  district?  "  * 

There  were  many  others  who  voiced  the  same  feeling, 
though  they  had  the  grace  not  to  snarl  in  the  presence  of 
the  father.  Ulysses  doubtless  agreed  with  them  that  it 
was  a  mistake, — he  had  no  extravagant  opinion  of  him 
self  at  anytime, — but  he  faced  the  issue.  He  wanted  to 
go,  and  he  did  not.  The  honor  came  with  certain  obvi 
ous  disadvantages.  One  of  these  was  home-leaving.  He 
loved  his  home.  He  was  the  most  unmilitary  of  boys  in 
a  military  age.  The  story  of  his  grandfather's  battles, 
sieges,  and  marches  had  seemingly  made  little  impression 
upon  him.  The  "  trainings  "  and  "  general  muster  "  of  the 
militia  had  interested  him  rather  less  than  the  infrequent 
circuses  of  the  day.  He  had  small  love  for  guns,  could- 
not  bear  to  see  things  killed,  and  was  neither  a  hunter  nor 
a  fighter.  The  people  could  not  be  much  blamed  for 
their  feeling  of  resentment.  To  any  one  but  the  father 
and  mother  it  seemed  very  much  like  a  waste  of  govern 
ment  privileges. 

When  the  news  of  his  appointment  came  Ulysses  was 
living  in  Ripley.  He  had  entered  a  special  school,  an 
academy,  which  was  superintended  by  the  Rev.  William 
Taylor.  It  afforded  the  best  instruction  in  the  county, 
and  was  as  good  a  school,  undoubtedly,  as  could  be  found 
in  any  of  the  surrounding  towns. 

Sixty  years  is  a  long  time  to  keep  distinctly  in  memory 
the  form  and  face  of  another,  but  several  of  Grant's  class 
mates  still  live  in  Ripley,  and  remember  him  very  well.f 
And  the  reports  upon  Ulysses'  character  are  much  more 
gracious  than  those  of  Georgetown, 

"  Lys,  or  Lyssus,  as  we  called  him,  boarded  with  R.  M. 
Johnson,  a  tanner,  whom  Jesse  Grant  knew  by  way  of 
business  dealings.  He  was  then  about  sixteen  years  old, 
and  in  appearance  was  short,  stout,  stubby,  and  hearty,  but 
rather  sluggish  in  mind  and  body.  I  was  in  the  same  class 

*  This  statement,  made  by  Richardson,  is  corroborated  by  people  in  Rip- 
ley  and  Georgetown.  It  is  all  quite  natural,  and  probably  true. 

t  I  am  indebted  to  Mr.  Chambers  Baird  of  Ripley  for  notes  and  letters 
bearing  on  Grant's  life  in  Ripley. 

28  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

with  him.  We  studied  algebra  together.  He  was  excellent 
in  mathematics.  We  studied  Latin  also,  as  beginners.  He 
was  not  much  of  a  talker — was  rather  quiet  and  serious. 
We  all  spent  a  good  deal  of  time  on  the  river  in  little 
boats.  He  played  ball,  and  was  good  at  it.  When  roused, 
was  strong  and  active.  He  used  to  wrestle  some,  but  I 
never  knew  him  to  fight,  and  he  was  never  quarrelsome. 

"  His  habits  were  good.  I  don't  remember  of  his  using 
tobacco  or  liquor.  He  never  talked  about  military  life. 
He  never  went  on  trips  or  excursions  with  us,  except  in 
our  boating  or  skating ;  he  was  occupied  with  his  studies. 
Everybody  liked  him,  for  he  was  so  amiable  and  friendly 
and  helpful.  He  was  a  good  student,  though  we  did 
not  consider  him  a  brilliant  boy  in  studies. 

"  Our  text-books  were  the  English  Reader  and  its 
Sequel,  Lindley  Murray's  Grammar,  Haven's  Speller 
and  Definer,  Comstock's  Philosophy.  Then,  we  had  a 
geography  with  pictures  of  Indians  and  Chinese  in  it.  I 
don't  remember  the  name  of  it.  It  was  a  queer  little 
book.  Grant  stood  well  in  all  his  classes,  but  he  was 
specially  good  in  mathematics." 

Another  classmate  remembers  him  as  a  "  heavy-made, 
good-looking  boy,  clever  and  social,  modest  and  quiet. 
He  was  steady  and  studious.  He  was  there  for  business. 
I  belonged  to  the  boys  who  made  things  lively,  but  Grant 
never  took  any  hand  in  our  mischief.  He  showed  no 
liking  for  military  life,  but  just  accepted  his  appointment, 
and  went  to  work  preparing  for  it. 

"  I  sat  in  the  same  seat  with  him  the  spring  term.  He 
was  a  good,  steady  boy,  with  no  bad  habits.  I  never  saw 
him  whipped  or  reprimanded." 

To  one  of  the  girls  of  the  school  he  looked  "  awkward 
and  countrified,  and  as  if  he  did  n't  think  much  about  how 
he  looked.  He  was  quiet  and  slow  in  everything  he  did." 

Another  classmate  adds  a  new  observation  to  the 
meager  list :  "  He  was  a  great  hand  to  ask  questions.  I 
think  I  have  heard  him  ask  a  million.  He  seemed  to 
want  to  get  information  and  opinions  from  everybody. 
He  said  little  himself,  but  he  could  answer  questions,  if  you 
gave  him  time."  This  significant  comment  explains  much 


of  Grant's  great  fund  of  facts.     He  absorbed  information 
like  a  sponge. 

"  He  was  always  dressed  in  home-made  butternut  jeans. 
He  nearly  always  carried  a  stick,  and  whittled  most  of  his 
time.  If  he  stopped  to  talk  with  any  one,  he  always 
whittled  on  the  stick  he  carried ;  but  he  never  made  any 
thing,  like  a  great  many  boys  do  when  they  whittle." 

Ripley  seemed  to  Ulysses  to  be  almost  a  city  in  com 
parison  with  Georgetown,  and  the  mental  atmosphere  of 
the  town  was  in  sharp  contrast.  Georgetown  was  still 
distinctly  Southern  in  its  political  sentiment,  while  Ripley 
was  sharply  Northern,  even  Puritan,  in  character.  It  was, 
indeed,  to  become  in  a  few  years  the  most  famous  station 
on  the  "  underground  railway "  in  all  southern  Ohio. 
It  was  the  scene  of  the  escape  of  Eliza,  the  "  Uncle  Tom's 
Cabin  "  heroine ;  and  the  Rev.  Rankin  and  his  stalwart 
sons  formed  a  host  in  themselves  when  the  slave-hunters 
came  trailing  up  the  Ohio  steeps,  on  whose  summit  the 
Rankin  homestead  perched  like  a  robber's  roost,  capable 
of  stern  defense.  That  Ulysses  was  affected  by  these 
surroundings  there  can  be  no  doubt.  In  a  letter  to  a 
Ripley  friend,  long  afterward,  he  said  :  "  I  remember  with 
pleasure  my  winter  in  Ripley." 

He  lived  pleasantly  as  a  member  of  the  Johnson  house 
hold,  and  it  is  related  of  him  that  he  taught  Betty  Osbon 
the  cook,  how  to  make  buckwheat  cakes,  and  that  he  took 
his  "  trick  "  at  baking  them  of  a  morning.  He  was  not  in 
the  society  of  girls  much,  though  he  took  a  shy  delight  in 
speech  with  them. 

In  such  wise  he  was  living  when  the  appointment  to 
West  Point  came  to  change  the  gentle  current  of  his  life. 
There  is  no  record  that  he  showed  exultation,  or  that 
he  dwelt  upon  it  in  talk  with  his  mates.  He  answered 
their  questions  quietly,  but  volunteered  little.  With  his 
mother's  impassive  exterior  he  concealed  the  tremor  of 
his  heart,  and  prepared  for  his  journey  into  the  world  as 
one  would  now  go  to  arctic  regions. 

There  is  a  whisper  to  be  heard,  also,  of  a  little  maid  liv 
ing  in  those  days  whose  face  and  voice  had  come  to  be 
very  precious  to  Ulysses.  This  boyish  love  was  of  the 

30  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

sweetest  and  daintiest  type — perhaps  unspoken,  on  his 
part,  for  he  feared  the  ridicule  of  his  friends,  and  espe 
cially  of  his  elders.  It  is  only  a  tradition  now — a  faint 
odor  as  of  pressed  roses  and  spice-pinks.  No  doubt,  as 
the  time  approached  for  saying  good-by,  he  keenly  felt 
the  sorrow  of  parting. 

However,  he  saw  in  prospect  a  splendid  ride  up  the 
Ohio  River  in  a  steamboat,  a  trip  over  the  mountains, 
and,  better  than  all,  a  visit  to  the  far  cities  of  New  York 
and  Philadelphia,  more  splendid  to  him  than  his  tongue 
could  tell ;  and,  finally,  he  knew  the  inflexible  purpose  of 
his  father ;  therefore  he  set  his  face  toward  the  East. 

His  life  had  been  active  and  happy;  he  had  lived 
securely,  though  meagerly ;  he  had  experienced  no  strug 
gle  nor  turbulence  in  his  life  in  Georgetown ;  and  while  he 
breathed  quick  with  the  thought  of  the  great  cities  to  be 
seen,  he  left  Georgetown  with  regret. 

His  mother  said  good-by  in  her  singularly  self-repres 
sive  manner,  and  Ulysses  started  out  to  take  the  stage  to 
Ripley.  As  he  went  by  the  Bailey  house  Mrs.  Bailey  and 
her  daughter  came  out  to  wish  him  good  journey. 

It  was  a  beautiful  May  day,  just  the  most  bewitching  time 
of  all  the  year  in  southern  Ohio,  and  the  girls  met 
Ulysses  on  the  soft  green  grass  before  the  house.  Mrs. 
Bailey,  warm-hearted  and  impulsive,  kissed  him,  and  said 
tearfully:  "Good-by,  Ulysses."  As  she  turned  away, 
Ulysses,  deeply  moved,  said  wonderingly :  "  Why,  Mrs. 
Bailey,  my  own  mother  did  n't  cry!  "  Yet  there  can  be 
no  question  of  his  mother's  love  for  him.  And  so  he 
started  off,  with  an  ache  in  his  heart.  Going  to  West 
Point  was  not  an  unmixed  delight. 

It  is  at  this  moment  that  we  come  upon  the  change  of 
his  name.  Up  to  the  start  for  West  Point  he  had  been 
Hiram  Ulysses,  or  H.  Ulysses  Grant.  He  had  been  called 
"  Useless "  Grant  because  of  his  unusual  middle  name, 
and  "Hug"  because  of  the  initials  H.  U.  G.,  and  his 
cousin,  James  Marshall,  is  an  important  witness  right  here. 
The  young  traveler  required  a  trunk,  and  Thomas  Walker, 
a  local  "  genius,"  was  the  man  to  make  it.  He  did  so, 
and,  to  finish  it  off,  he  traced  on  the  cover,  in  big  brass 


tacks,  the  initials  H.  U.  G.  Young  Marshall  went  to  help 
Ulysses  to  carry  the  new  trunk  home.  Ulysses  looked  at 
the  big  glaring  letters  disapprovingly.  "  I  won't  have 
that  so,"  he  said.  "It  spells  'hug.'  The  boys  would 
plague  me  about  it."  And  he  thereupon  shifted  his  mid 
dle  name,  and  became  Ulysses  H.  Grant,  and  so  he  went 
forth  into  the  world. 

By  his  teaming  and  farming  he  had  accumulated  about 
one  hundred  dollars,  which  was  a  great  deal  of  money  for 
a  boy  of  his  age  in  those  days,  and  he  took  'a  manly  pride 
in  knowing  that  he  had  earned  so  much  of  his  expenses. 
Few  boys  of  his  age  had  done  as  well. 

In  those  days  the  saddle  was  the  emblem  of  speed,  and 
the  canal-boat  was  tolerated  as  a  passenger  craft ;  but  to 
the  boy  it  was  all  equally  wonderful.  Of  the  long  journey 
by  boat  to  Pittsburg,  and  by  stage  and  canal  to  Philadel 
phia,  there  is  little  record.  An  aunt  on  his  mother's  side, 
in  Philadelphia,  remembers  him  as  he  then  appeared.  She 
describes  him  as  a  rather  awkward  country  lad,  wearing 
plain,  ill-fitting  clothes,  and  large  coarse  shoes  with  toes  as 
broad  as  the  soles. 

He  strolled  about  the  streets  in  the  fashion  of  the  rural 
visitor,  seeing  all  there  was  to  be  seen.*  He  enjoyed  his 
visit  thoroughly,  that  is  known ;  for  he  lingered,  boy-fash 
ion,  to  the  last  moment  in  Philadelphia  and  New  York, 
and  headed  toward  West  Point  only  when  he  felt  he  must. 
The  ride  up  the  Hudson  f  was  one  of  the  grandest  experi 
ences  of  his  life.  He  felt  the  historical  side  of  it  very 
strongly,  as  most  Western  boys  do,  and  approached  West 
Point  with  a  thrill  of  exultation  in  his  heart.  It  seemed 
to  him  one  of  nature's  most  tremendous  upheavals — the 
water-gap,  the  wide  river,  and  the  dark  hills  bulging 
against  the  sky. 

He  registered  at  Roe's  Hotel,  on  the  26th  of  May,  as 
"  U.  H.  Grant/'  and  the  next  day  reported  to  the  adjutant, 

*  From  an  interview  in  the  Philadelphia  "  Times,"  July,  1885. 
t  Probably 

"  On  the  proud  steamer,  long  since  gone  awreck, 
The  R.  L.  Stevens,  fleet  as  a  balloon." 

(From  an  old  poem.) 

32  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

C.  F.  Smith,  deposited  forty-eight  dollars,  and  signed  his 
name  "  Ulysses  Hiram  Grant."  His  name  as  reported  from 
Washington,  however,  was  U.  S.  Grant,  and  arose  in  this 
way :  The  Hon.  Thomas  Hamer  received  the  letter  of  Jesse 
Grant  only  the  day  before  the  close  of  his  term,  and  being 
much  hurried,  sat  down  at  once  and  wrote  to  Secretary  of 
War  Poinsett,  asking  for  the  appointment  of  his  neigh 
bor's  son.  He  knew  the  boy's  name  to  be  Ulysses,  and 
inferring  that  his  middle  name  was  Simpson,  filled  in 
the  application  so,  and  so  it  stood  when  Ulysses  faced 
the  adjutant. 

He  asked  to  have  it  changed,  but  was  told  it  was  im 
possible  without  the  consent  of  the  Secretary  of  War. 

"  Very  well,"  he  said ;  "  I  came  here  to  enter  the  Mili 
tary  Academy,  and  enter  I  shall.  An  initial  more  or  less 
does  not  matter."*  He  was  known  to  the  government 
thereafter  as  U.  S.  Grant. 

This  being  settled,  he  was  given  the  "  Book  of  Regu 
lations,"  and  sent  across  the  area  to  the  old  South  Barracks 
to  report  to  the  cadet  officers.  As  he  went  he  was  greeted 
with  derisive  yells :  "  Does  your  mother  know  you  're 
out  ?  "  "  Oh,  what  an  animal ! "  "  Who  is  your  tailor  ?  " 
and  other  f  witticisms.  Missiles  hurtled  from  the  windows 
when  no  one  in  authority  was  in  sight. 

At  headquarters  the  cadet  corporals  took  him  in  hand. 
He  was  told  that  the  first  duty  of  a  soldier  was  to  stand 
erect.  He  was  ordered  to  throw  out  his  chest  and  pull  in 
his  belly,  and  to  fix  his  eyes  on  a  tack  driven  in  the  wall. 
Then  questions  were  asked — apparently  harmless  and  quite 
polite  questions. 

"  Mr.  Grant,  what  have  you  brought  from  home?" 

Naturally  he  turned  his  head  toward  his  questioner  to 

Fierce  yells  arose: 

"  Keep  your  eyes  to  the  front,  sir!  "     He  was  told  that 

*  Richardson's  "  Life  of  Grant." 

t  "  Crossing  the  plain  from  the  North  Barrack  windows 
Came  boisterous  shouts  of  welcome  from  within; 
Sarcastic  shrieks,  as  from  a  tribe  of  Mingoes, 
Assailed  our  hero  with  infernal  din." 


7 '  . 

Facsimile  showing  Grant's  autograph  in  the  adjutant's  record,  West  Point. 

This  signature,  "  Ulysses  Hiram  Grant,"  was  written  the  same  day  as  the  one  "  U.  H.  Grant,"  in  the  register  at  Roe's  Hotel, 
May  29,  1839. 

tf  /&« 

of  £/t 

Facsimile  of  Grant's  certificate  of  enlistment. 

This  certificate  was  signed  by  Grant,  September  14,  1839,  after  he  had  passed  his  examinations.  It  bears  what  is,  so  far  as  known, 
Grant's  earliest  autograph  as  U.  "S."  Grant.  By  this  time  the  mistake  of  Congressman  Hamer  in  so  naming  him  to  the  War 
Department  had  fixed  that  as  his  official  designation. 


the  next  duty  of  a  cadet  was  to  keep  his  eyes  to  the  front, 
if  the  heavens  fell.  He  was  made  to  "  fin  out "  ;  that  is, 
to  put  his  little  fingers  to  the  seams  of  his  trousers,  and  to 
turn  his  palms  to  the  front.  He  was  told,  with  withering 
scorn,  to  "  get  a  brace  "  on  himself. 

"  Drag  in  your  chin !  Draw  in  your  belly !  Throw  out 
your  chest !  Now,  you  are  to  put '  Mr.'  before  every  name, 
salute  every  officer,  and  do  as  you  are  told."  His  attention 
was  called  to  other  regulations  in  the  same  manner. 

After  this  exercise  he  was  sent  to  the  quartermaster  for 
his  outfit,  which  consisted  of  two  blankets,  pillow,  water- 
pail,  broom,  a  chair,  etc. ;  and  he  was  required  to  carry  all 
these  things  himself,  on  the  handle  of  his  broom,  past  the 
officers'  quarters,  past  the  howling  cadets,  while  every 
mother's  son  of  them  said : 

"  Hello,  plebe;  how  do  you  like  it?" 

These  belongings  he  was  taught  to  pile  and  place  in  his 
room,  under  instruction  of  his  room-mates.  For  two  weeks 
he  slept  on  the  floor  in  the  barracks,  on  two  thin  blankets. 
It  was  all  literally  camping  under  a  roof.  Ulysses  and 
Rufus  Ingalls  were  assigned  to  the  upper  floor  of  the  old 
North  Barracks  (which  long  since  gave  place  to  new 
buildings) ;  and  here,  in  a  bare,  dreary  room,  he  faced  the 
four  years  of  a  cadet's  life.  "  It  was  a  wonderful  time  for 
us,"  says  W.  B.  Franklin.*  "  We  were  all  homesick  and 
lonesome,  and  depressed  by  the  hard  manner  of  life.  We 
knew  no  one,  and  were  not  in  a  condition  to  resent  any 
impertinence  or  joke  of  the  upper  classmen." 

During  this  time  he  was  drilled  by  "  squad  marches  " 
in  plebe  drill  in  city  clothing,  and  suffered  all  modes  of 
"  plebe  jumping."  He  was  forced  to  walk  painfully 
straight,  to  perform  various  athletic  exercises,  and  other 
wise  to  prepare  to  be  a  "  conditional  cadet." 

During  this  time  life  was  a  burden  and  a  weariness  of  the 
flesh.  At  last,  when  he  had  passed  his  preliminary  ex 
amination,  he  shucked  out  of  his  home-made  clothes  and 
into  the  skin-tight  uniform,!  and  became  a  private  soldier 

*  General  W.  B.  Franklin,  who  led  his  class  during  the  four  years. 
t  "  The  clothes  of  the  plebes  in  Grant's  day  were  wonderful.     They  were 
of  all  cuts,  colors,  and  kinds.     They  came  with  the  local  peculiarities  of  Ohio, 

34  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

in  the  summer  camp  of  the  cadets.  He  went  into  train 
ing  as  a  cog  in  the  machinery  of  an  army. 

The  entering  class  and  the  bulk  of  all  the  cadets  were 
ranked  as  private  soldiers  with  the  pay  of  corporals.  From 
the  first  or  graduating  class  the  commissioned  officers  were 
appointed,  and  consisted  of  four  captains,  sixteen  lieuten 
ants,  a  quartermaster,  and  a  sergeant-major.  These  men 
were  subject  only  to  the  instructors  and  to  the  regular 
army  officers  in  charge.  Promotions  were  made  without 
reference  to  academic  standing ;  they  were  always  for  sol 
dierly  qualities.  From  the  dullest  plebe  to  the  superin 
tendent  of  the  post  was  a  regular  series  of  commands,  each 
succeeding  higher  rank  with  less  numbers,  until,  like  the 
glittering  apex  to  the  pyramid,  the  superintendent  shone 
solitary  and  supreme. 

Tennessee,  Maine,  South  Carolina,  and  Boston ;  and  when  we  lined  up  in 
squad  drill  we  were  as  comical  as  the  awkward  squad  at  a  spring  training. 
We  were  not  measured  for  uniforms  till  the  authorities  felt  sure  we  were  to 



FROM  the  democracy  of  small  villages  in  the  West,  or 
from  farms  in  the  East,  boys  of  seventeen  or  eighteen 
were  brought  face  to  face  with  this  grim  military  despo 
tism.     It  was  a  shock.     Even  at  this  time  had  grown  up 
customs  and  traditions  stronger  than  military  regulations. 

In  a  half-jocular  and  half-ferocious  way  Grant  was 
made  to  feel  the  power  of  those  above  him.  The  names 
by  which  he  was  designated  show  this.  He  was  called  a 
"  thing,"  a  "  beast,"  an  "  animal,"  before  his  examinations. 
"  Plebe  "  was  his  kingliest  title  during  his  first  year.  From 
the  time  he  came  in  sight  of  the  adjutant's  office  to  the 
end  of  his  first  encampment  he  was  not  allowed  to  forget 
that  he  cumbered  the  earth.  He  was  the  victim  of  orders, 
of  jests,  of  hootings,  and  of  revilings.  He  was  under  com- 
mand  of  everybody,  and,  like  a  wastrel  cat,  had  no  place 
of  refuge. 

When  Ulysses  shed  his  citizen's  clothes,  and  got  into 
the  tight-fitting  jacket  and  trousers,  he  felt  that  he  had 
been  stripped  naked,  with  all  his  imperfection  of  limb  and 
bust  open  to  inspection  and  derision.  He  was  forced  to 
"  brace  "  and  "  fin  out  "  and  salute  "  eyes  front  "  every 
time  he  faced  an  officer  or  the  upper-classmen.  This 
absurd  and  painful  contortion  of  body  made  him  feel  like 
a  trussed  turkey,  and  took  all  joy  out  of  life.  He  was  put 
through  ridiculous  actions  at  plebe  drill. 

He  was  ordered  into  the  rear  rank  when  marching  to 
and  from  meals,  and  the  file-closer  accosted  him  in  a 
low  snarl:  "  Get  into  line  there,  Mr.  Grant!  Watch  out, 


36  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

there!  I  '11  skin  you  if  I  see  you  do  that  again."  Com 
mands  were  hurled  at  him  with  all  the  venom  (real  or  as 
sumed)  of  piratical  imprecation.  No  one  quite  laid  hands 
upon  him,  and  no  one  actually  blasphemed,  but  the  tone 
in  which  he  was  addressed  was  charged  with  the  most 
desolating  hate  (apparently)  which  the  human  heart  could 

The  summer  camp  of  cadets  was  precisely  like  an 
army  camp  in  the  face  of  an  enemy.  It  was  an  army  in 

A  complete  guard  was  posted,  and  no  one  was  allowed 
to  leave  camp  without  a  permit.  Everywhere  was  elabo 
rate  and  grim  detail  of  procedure — detail  enough  to  gov 
ern  the  army  of  Russia  or  destroy  it.  Grant  and  his  fel 
low  "  animals "  were  at  once  bewildered  by  the  salutes 
innumerable,  the  wheelings,  marchings,  roll-calls,  policing 
calls,  shouts  of  command  real  and  mock.  They  were 
hustled  into  ranks  with  opprobrious  mutterings  of  com 
ment  on  the  part  of  the  corporals,  whose  delight  was  to 
send  a  man  to  the  guard-house. 

They  slept  little  the  first  night.  The  floor  of  the  tent  was 
hard, — harder  even  than  the  floor  of  the  barracks,— and 
the  mosquitos  fed  on  each  plebe  with  the  spirit  of  the 
upper-classmen.  Hardly  had  they  fallen  asleep  when  the 
vicious  clamor  of  the  reveille  broke  forth.  Wild,  fierce 
cries  arose :  "  Fall  in !  Get  out  of  here !  Move !  What 
d'  ye  mean  by  that?  Step  lively,  now!  Fall  in!  " 

Thus  assisted,  they  got  into  line  for  roll-call,  with 
jackets  fairly  on,  but  with  dreaming  eyes.  All  about,  the 
fog  and  chill  of  early  dawn  made  the  world  unreal.  Then 
the  policing  call  brought  more  work,  sweeping  out  and 
making  ready  for  morning  inspection.  Ulysses  kept  a 
sharp  eye  on  his  neighbors,  and  so  got  through  tolerably 
well,  though  once  some  one  yelled  ferociously : 

"You  want  to  wake  up  there,  Mr.  Grant!  " 

When  the  sick-call  sounded,  many  a  man  felt  like  re 
sponding  who  did  not. 

Then  came  "  peas  upon  a  trencher "  call,  and  every 
body  formed  into  line  for  breakfast,  the  plebes  in  the 
rear  rank,  of  course,  with  palms  thrown  forward  and 


backs  strained  almost  to  breaking,  the  file-closer  insulting 
them  as  they  moved. 

Breakfast  was  as  simple  as  a  lumber-camp  meal.  The 
dining-hall  was  bare  and  the  tables  without  cover.  There 
were  no  napkins,  and  only  common  steel  knives  and  forks, 
and  the  cups  were  heavy  as  bowls.*  The  fare  was  very 
bad,  and  the  poor  plebes  "  were  assigned  seats  near  the 
center,  where  it  was  hardest  to  get  anything,"  and  they 
commonly  went  away  hungry  from  "  hash,"  which  was  the 
morning  dish.  Sentinels  in  tall  leather  caps  stood  about 
the  room  while  the  rest  ate. 

At  last  came  the  call: 

"  Company  A,  rise." 

"  Company  D,  rise." 

Once  more  the  torture  of  the  march  back  to  the  camp, 
whence  no  one  could  escape  without  permission.  Each 
hour  thereafter  was  filled  with  "  calls  "  to  duties,  drills, 
and  studies.  There  seemed  to  be  no  free  hour.  Mock 

*  "  The  fare  was  very  bad.  West  Point  at  that  time  was  isolated  from 
the  world.  It  had  no  railways,  and  in  winter  no  steamboats.  There  were, 
in  fact,  no  farms  very  near.  Breakfast  was  quite  generally  hashed  beef,  with 
coffee.  Dinner,  roast  beef  or  boiled  beef,  with  sometimes  fish  or  mutton. 
Mutton  was  not  a  popular  dish.  We  used  to  '  baa'  like  a  sheep  when  we 
came  into  the  dining-room.  I  think  we  had  a  table-cover,  but  I  am  not  cer 
tain.  Of  this  I  am  certain :  our  forks  were  of  the  two-tined,  bone-handled 
variety,  and  from  long  washing  in  hot,  greasy  water  they  had  decomposed, 
and  they  gave  a  horrible  smell  which  no  old  cadet  can  forget  as  long  as  he 
lives.  It  was  horrible.  '  Tea '  was  largely  tea,  and  very  little  besides,  and 
the  boys  used  to  provide  for  it  by  sticking  a  fork  into  a  big  hunk  of  beef  from 
the  dinner  and  jabbing  it  fast  under  the  table.  This,  when  unperceived  by 
the  'tack,'  helped  out  the  starvation  form  of  'tea.' 

"  This  thin  fare  led  to  all  sorts  of  '  foraging  on  the  enemy,'  and  men  were 
detailed  to  steal  from  the  dinner-table.  We  wore  caps  of  morocco  with  a 
big  flat  top.  We  called  them  '  gig-tups,'  and  they  held  potatoes  and  salt 
cellars  and  bread  very  comfortably.  One  man  was  detailed  to  steal  bread, 
another  meat,  another  salt  and  pepper,  and  so  on.  The  sentinels  who  stood 
guard  over  our  eating  wore  a  sort  of  bell-crown  cap  of  stiff  leather,  like 
those  of  Napoleon's  body-guard ;  and  these  caps  could  contain  four  quarts  of 
boiled  potatoes,  and  only  add  to  the  soldierly  bearing  of  the  sentinel. 

"  This  stuff  we  put  into  a  pillow-case,  and  at  night  we  beat  it  up  with  a 
bayonet,  and  cooked  it  over  the  grate,  which  was  of  anthracite  coal  and  quite 
handy.  Our  dishes  were  slices  of  bread  or  toast.  These  were  '  cadet  hashes,' 
and  were  an  institution  in  our  day.  No  man,  no  cadet  officer,  in  fact,  was 
ever  known  to  refuse  an  invitation  to  a  cadet  hash.  I  don't  particularly  recall 
Grant  in  this  connection,  but  as  he  was  a  farmer  boy,  and  a  growing  boy, 
I  've  no  doubt  he  accepted  every  possible  chance  to  eat  cadet  hash." — 

38  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

inspectors  came  by  and  rated  the  plebes.  Third-class 
men,  assuming  authority,  demanded  salutes  and  service. 
Innocent  and  scared  plebes  were  sent  to  the  professor  of 
mathematics  for  a  half-dozen  right  lines,  and  on  other  fool's 
errands  across  the  guard-line,  only  to  be  stopped  and 
turned  back  with  military  promptness  by  the  guard.  They 
forgot  to  salute  the  officer  of  the  day  as  he  came  by,  and 
received  more  heart-bruising  instruction. 

They  were  drilled  incessantly  by  acting  corporals 
ambitious  for  promotion,  who  thrust  their  noses  almost 
into  their  victims'  eyes,  while  they  hissed  and  snarled  out 
blasting  phrases  whose  words  were  harmless,  even  polite. 
At  morning  inspection  each  scared  plebe  had  his  musket 
clawed  from  him  by  a  stubby  little  martinet,  who  flung  it 
back  at  his  victim  with  intent  (apparently)  to  smash  his 

"Where  's  your  bone-snapper,  Mr.  Grant?  I  '11  skin 
you  for  having  that  flint  in.  You  want  to  peel  your  eye. 
What  do  you  think  this  is — a  picnic?  " 

At  noon  roast-beef  call,  and  more  marching  to  dinner 
and  marching  back.  More  drill — always  drill,  and  always 
cleaning  up  tent  or  gun.  His  clothes  fitted  so  close  he 
felt  compressed ;  he  had  no  moment  of  ease  in  all  the  day. 
At  last  retreat  sounded,  and  the  gun  boomed  imperiously, 
and  supper,  even  more  welcome  than  dinner,  was  eaten. 
The  night  came,  and  sly  deviltry  broke  loose. 

Some  plebes  escaped  by  inconspicuousness,  but  others 
were  made  to  do  absurd  and  useless  tasks.  Some  were 
put  on  false  guard,  and  made  to  walk  all  night.  Deviling 
went  on  in  the  tents  farthest  from  the  officer  of  the  day — 
quietly,  of  course,  but  with  precision,  nevertheless.  Plebes 
were  set  to  catching  imaginary  flies  in  some  yearling's 
tent.  Boat-races  in  wash-bowls  were  arranged. 

At  9:30  came  the  wailing,  sweet  music  of  tattoo  and 
taps,  and  not  even  the  mosquitos  and  the  yearling  or  the 
hard  boards  beneath  could  keep  the  weary  plebe  awake. 

"  There  are  few  compensations  during  the  first  year ; 
it  is  hard  work,  early  rising,  close  application.  You  rise 
at  5  A.  M.  summers  and  6  A.  M.  winters,  and  every  hour 

View  up  the  Hudson  River  from  mortar-  and  siege-battery,  West  Point. 
From  a  photograph  by  Pack  Brothers,  New  York. 

A  "  plebe  "  boat-race,  West  Point. 
From  a  photograph  loaned  by  Lieutenant  S.  C.  Hazzard,  West  Point. 

THE   TRIALS   OF   A    PLEBE  39 

is  filled  till  7  : 30  P.  M.  You  are  obliged  to  scrub  the  floor 
and  to  make  up  your  own  bed,  and  keep  your  gun  and 
room  and  uniform  in  perfect  order,  and  also  to  be  subject 
to  the  upper-classmen. 

"  In  the  second  year,  however,  you  can  bully  the  en 
tering  class,  and  swagger  around  doing  corporal  duty ;  the 
third  year  you  can  bully  two  classes,  and  wear  a  red  sash 
around  your  waist  in  parade  to  show  you  are  a  senior 
cadet  officer;  and  in  the  fourth  year  you  can  do  'most 
anything  you  please — you  can,  in  fact,  do  the  very  things 
you  kept  your  subordinates  from  doing  in  the  second  year. 

"  When  you  were  a  plebe  you  were  obliged  to  stand  up 
before  the  amanuensis  like  a  trussed  turkey  with  a  towel 
under  your  wing,  while  he  parboiled  you  for  daring  to  be 
on  earth  at  all — much  more  for  asking  leave  to  take  a 
bath ;  and  you  were  obliged  to  dissemble,  and  say  with 
marvelous  meekness,  '  Yes,  sir,'  '  No,  sir,'  to  his  nobs,  who 
sprawled  at  ease  before  his  time-book.  You  were  the  fag- 
end  of  things — a  loathsome  '  beast.'  But  as  a  yearling 
these  things  changed." 

All  this,  or  something  like  it,  Ulysses  Grant  went 
through.  No  doubt  he  was  able  to  escape  much  by  reason 
of  his  quiet  and  obliging  nature.  Then,  too,  he  speedily 
became  a  favorite  of  some  of  the  more  powerful  men  in 
the  classes  above  him,  and  that  smoothed  his  way  a  little. 
But  he  studied  the  tack,  braced,  finned  out,  policed  camp, 
scrubbed  floors  on  Saturday,  was  "  skinned  "  for  leaving 
the  flint  in  his  gun  instead  of  the  "  bone-snapper,"  and 
endured  all  the  educational  abuse  and  discomfort  which  is 
the  lot  of  the  average  plebe. 

In  a  letter  to  McKinstry  Griffiths,  a  cousin  in  Batavia, 
he  expressed  his  general  feeling  about  the  place — a  fine, 
buoyant,  well-expressed  letter  it  is,  too.  It  had  a  few 
misspelled  words,  but  it  is  doubtful  whether  there  were 
many  more  young  men  of  seventeen  in  Georgetown  who 
could  have  written  so  bright  a  letter.* 

*  The  original  was  long  in  the  possession  of  Mr.  Griffiths,  and  was  first 
published  in  a  Clermont  County  paper  in  1885.  It  is  now  in  the  possession 
of  C.  F.  Gunther. 


September  22,  1839. 

DEAR  Coz :  I  was  just  thinking  that  you  would  be  right  glad 
to  hear  from  one  of  your  relations  who  is  so  far  away  as  I  am. 
So  I  have  put  away  my  algebra  and  French,  and  am  going  to 
tell  you  a  long  story  about  this  prettiest  of  places,  West  Point. 
So  far  as  it  regards  natural  attractions  it  is  decidedly  the  most 
beautiful  place  that  I  have  ever  seen.  Here  are  hills  and  dales, 
rocks  and  river;  all  pleasant  to  look  upon.  From  the  window 
near  I  can  see  the  Hudson — that  far-famed,  that  beautiful  river, 
with  its  bosom  studded  with  hundreds  of  snowy  sails. 

Again,  I  look  another  way  I  can  see  Fort  Putt,  now  frowning 
far  above,  a  stern  monument  of  a  sterner  age,  which  seems  placed 
there  on  purpose  to  tell  us  of  the  glorious  deeds  of  our  fathers, 
and  to  bid  us  to  remember  their  sufferings— to  follow  their  ex 

In  short,  this  is  the  best  of  places — the  PLACE  of  all  PLACES 
for  an  institution  like  this.  I  have  not  told  you  HALF  its  attrac 
tions.  Here  is  the  house  Washington  used  to  live  in — there 
Kosisuscko  used  to  walk  and  think  of  HIS  country  and  of  OURS. 
Over  the  river  we  are  shown  the  dwelling-house  of  Arnold— that 
BASE  and  HEARTLESS  traitor  to  his  country  and  his  God.  I  do 
love  the  PLACE — it  seems  as  though  I  could  live  here  forever,  if 
my  friends  would  only  come  too.  You  might  search  the  wide 
world  over  and  then  not  find  a  better.  Now  all  this  sounds  nice, 
very  nice ;  what  a  happy  fellow  you  are,  but  I  am  not  one  to 
show  false  colors,  or  the  brightest  side  of  the  picture,  so  I  will 
tell  you  about  some  of  the  DRAWBACKS.  First,  I  slept  for  two 
months  upon  one  single  pair  of  blankets.  Now  this  sounds 
romantic,  and  you  may  think  it  very  easy ;  but  I  tell  you  what, 
Coz,  it  is  tremendous  hard. 

Suppose  you  try  it,  by  way  of  experiment,  for  a  night  or  two. 
I  am  pretty  sure  that  you  would  be  perfectly  satisfied  that  it  is 
no  easy  matter;  but  glad  am  I  these  things  are  over.  We  are 
now  in  our  quarters.  I  have  a  splendid  bed  (mattress)  and  get 
along  very  well.  Our  pay  is  nominally  about  twenty-eight  dol 
lars  a  month,  but  we  never  see  one  cent  of  it.  If  we  wish  any 
thing,  from  a  shoe-string  to  a  coat,  we  must  go  to  the  comman 
dant  of  the  post  and  get  an  order  for  it,  or  we  cannot  have  it. 
We  have  tremendous  long  and  hard  lessons  to  get,  in  both  French 
and  algebra.  I  study  hard  and  hope  to  get  along  so  as  to  pass 
the  examination  in  January.  This  examination  is  a  hard  one, 
they  say ;  but  I  am  not  frightened  yet.  If  I  am  successful  here 
you  will  not  see  me  for  two  long  years.  It  seems  a  long  while 


to  me,  but  time  passes  off  very  fast.  It  seems  but  a  few  days 
since  I  came  here.  It  is  because  every  hour  has  its  duty,  which 
must  be  performed.  On  the  whole  I  like  the  place  very  much 
— so  much  that  I  would  not  go  away  on  any  account.  The  fact 
is,  if  a  man  graduates  here,  he  is  safe  for  life,  let  him  go  where 
he  will.  There  is  much  to  dislike,  but  more  to  like.  I  mean  to 
study  hard  and  stay  if  it  be  possible ;  if  I  cannot,  very  well,  the 
world  is  wide.  I  have  now  been  here  about  four  months,  and 
have  not  seen  a  single  familiar  face  or  spoken  to  a  single  lady. 
I  wish  some  of  the  pretty  girls  of  Bethel  were  here,  just  so  1 
might  look  at  them.  But  fudge!  confound  the  girls.  I  have 
seen  great  men,  plenty  of  them.  Let  us  see:  General  Scott, 
Mr.  Van  Buren,  Secretary  of  War  and  Navy,  Washington  Irving, 
and  lots  of  other  big  bugs.  If  I  were  to  come  home  now  with 
my  uniform  on,  the  way  you  would  laugh  at  my  appearance 
would  be  curious.  My  pants  set  as  tight  to  my  skin  *  as  the  bark 
to  tree,  and  if  I  do  not  walk  military,— that  is,  if  I  bend  over 
quickly  or  run, — they  are  very  apt  to  crack  with  a  report  as  loud 
as  a  pistol.  My  coat  must  always  be  buttoned  up  tight  to  the 
chin.  It  is  made  of  sheep's  gray  cloth,  all  covered  with  big  round 
buttons.  It  makes  one  look  very  singular.  If  you  were  to  see 
me  at  a  distance,  the  first  question  you  would  ask  would  be,  "  Is 
that  a  fish  or  an  animal?  "  You  must  give  my  very  best  love 
and  respects  to  all  my  friends,  particularly  your  brothers,  uncles 
Ross  and  Samuel  Simpson.  You  must  also  write  me  a  long  let 
ter  in  reply  to  this,  and  tell  me  about  everything  and  everybody, 
including  yourself.  If  you  happen  to  see  any  of  my  folks,  just 
tell  them  that  I  am  happy,  alive  and  well. 

I  am  truly  your  cousin  and  obedient  servant, 

U.  H.  GRANT. 


N.  B.  In  coming  I  stopped  five  days  in  Philadelphia  with 
our  friends.  They  are  all  well.  Tell  Grandmother  Simpson  that 
they  always  have  expected  to  see  her  before,  but  have  almost 
given  up  the  idea  now.  They  hope  to  hear  from  her  often. 

U.  H.  GRANT. 

I  came  near  forgetting  to  tell  you  about  our  demerit  or  "  black 
marks."  They  give  a  man  one  of  these  "  black  marks "  for 
almost  nothing,  and  if  he  gets  two  hundred  a  year  they  dismiss 
him.  To  show  how  easy  one  can  get  these,  a  man  by  the  name 
of  Grant,  of  this  State,  got  eight  of  these  "  marks  "  for  not  going 

*  The  trousers  were  poorly  made  of  white  stuff  that  would  shrink, 

42  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

to  church.  He  was  also  put  under  arrest  so  he  cannot  leave  his 
room  perhaps  for  a  month  ;  all  this  for  not  going  to  church.  We 
are  not  only  obliged  to  go  to  church,  but  must  march  there  by 
companies.  This  is  not  republican.  It  is  an  Episcopal  church. 
Contrary  to  the  expectation  of  you  and  the  rest  of  my  Bethel 
friends,  I  have  not  been  the  least  homesick.  I  would  not  go 
home  on  any  account  whatever.  When  I  come  home  in  two 
years  (if  I  live),  the  way  I  shall  astonish  you  natives  will  be 
curious.  I  hope  you  will  not  take  me  for  a  baboon. 

My  best  respects  to  Grandmother  Simpson.  I  think  often  of 
her.  I  put  this  on  the  margin  so  that  you  will  remember  it 
better.  I  want  you  to  show  her  this  letter  and  all  others  that  I 
may  write  to  you,  to  her.  I  am  going  to  write  to  some  of  my 
friends  in  Philadelphia  soon.  When  they  answer  I  shall  write 
you  again  to  tell  you  all  about  them,  etc. 

Remember  and  write  me  very  soon,  for  I  want  to  hear  much. 

This  frank,  gossipy  letter  is  a  revelation  of  the  real  boy 
behind  his  impassive  mask  of  face.  Whatever  its  faults,  it 
is  not  the  letter  of  a  dullard. 

He  was  at  once  called  "  Sam  "  Grant.  "  I  remember, 
as  plain  as  if  it  were  yesterday,  Grant's  first  appearance 
among  us,"  said  Sherman.  "  I  was  three  years  ahead  of 
him.  I  remember  seeing  his  name  on  the  paper  in  the 
hall  on  the  bulletin-board,  where  all  the  names  of  the  new 
comers  were  posted.  I  ran  my  eye  down  the  columns, 
and  there  saw  '  U.  S.  Grant.'  A  lot  of  us  began  to  make 
up  names  to  fit  the  initials.  One  said  '  United  States 
Grant.'  Another  '  Uncle  Sam  Grant.'  A  third  said  '  Sam 
Grant.'  That  name  stuck  to  him."  (An  interview  in  July, 
1 885,  New  York  "Herald.") 

"  He  was  a  most  unique-appearing  youth,"  another 
witness  testified.* 

He  fell  into  ranks  quietly  and  with  little  friction ;  being 
so  equable  and  obliging  of  temper,  no  one  but  a  bully 
could  find  heart  to  impose  upon  him.  He  was  small, 
also,  and  there  was  little  excitement  in  "  jumping  "  such  a 
little  fellow.  He  was  a  good  boy  here,  as  at  home.  He 
took  little  part  in  the  sly  deviltry  of  the  class.f 

*  Coppee,  "  Life  of  Grant." 

t  "  It  was  impossible  to  quarrel  with  Grant,"  said  one  who  roomed  with 
him  for  a  year.  "  He  never  had  a  spat.  I  never  knew  him  to  fight." 

THE   TRIALS    OF    A    PLEBE  43 

A  careful  study  of  his  page  of  demerits  shows  scarcely 
a  single  mark  for  any  real  offense  against  good  conduct. 
His  offenses  are  mainly  "  lates  "  and  negligences.  He  was 
'Mate  at  church,"  "late  at  parade,"  "late  at  drill."  He 
was  a  growing  boy,  and  a  little  sluggish  of  a  morning,  no 
doubt.  Once  he  sat  down  on  his  post  between  five  and 
six  in  the  morning;  for  this  he  received  eight  demerits. 
Twice  in  his  second  year  as  squad  marcher  he  failed  to 
report  delinquencies  in  others,  and  received  five  demerits 
each  time.  His  amiability  led  to  this.  Once  he  spoke 
disrespectfully  to  his  superior  officer  on  parade.  The  prov 
ocation  must  have  been  very  great  to  have  led  to  this. 
The  probabilities  are  the  officer  was  mistaken. 

The  life  at  the  academy  had  this  virtue — it  was  demo 
cratic.  All  fared  alike,  so  far  as  regulations  could  go. 
The  son  of  slaveholding  parents  from  Virginia  had  the 
same  duties  to  perform  as  the  tanner's  son.  "  Each  Satur 
day  it  was  down  on  your  knees  and  scrub  the  floor.  The 
barracks  were  dismal,  barn-like  structures  with  bare  floors 
and  very  scanty  furnishings.  We  had  no  servants  at  all. 
We  had  to  carry  water,  make  up  our  own  beds,  etc.  There 
were  no  such  luxuries  as  bath-rooms  then.  We  had  to 
pump  our  own  water,  and  carry  it  up-stairs,  whenever  we 
found  it  necessary  to  take  a  bath. 

"  I  remember  Grant  well.  He  was  a  small  fellow, 
active  and  muscular.  His  hair  was  a  reddish  brown,  and 
his  eyes  gray-blue.  We  all  liked  him,  and  he  took  rank 
soon  as  a  good  mathematician  and  engineer,  and  as  a 
capital  horseman.  He  had  no  bad  habits  whatever,  and 
was  a  great  favorite,  though  not  a  brilliant  fellow. 

"  He  could  n't,  or  would  n't,  dance.  He  had  no  facility 
in  conversation  with  the  ladies,  a  total  absence  of  ele 
gance,  and  naturally  showed  off  badly  in  contrast  with 
the  young  Southern  men,  who  prided  themselves  on  being 
finished  in  the  ways  of  the  world."  * 

He  belonged  decidedly  to  the  plebeian  side  of  the  class, 
which  was  sharply  divided  on  the  line  of  elegance  and 
savoir-faire,  notwithstanding  the  democracy  of  the  mili 
tary  regulations.  "  Socially  the  Southern  men  led.  At 

*  General  D.  M.  Frost. 

44  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

the  parties  which  were  given  occasionally  in  the  dining- 
hall  Grant  had  small  part.  I  never  knew  Grant  to  attend 
a  party.  I  don't  suppose  in  all  his  first  year  he  entered 
a  private  house." 

He  was  soon  deeply  immersed  in  certain  of  his  studies. 
"  A  military  life  had  no  charms  for  me,"  he  wrote,  many 
years  after,*  "  and  I  had  not  the  faintest  idea  of  staying  in 
the  army,  even  if  I  should  be  graduated,  which  I  did  not 
expect.  The  encampment  which  preceded  the  commence 
ment  of  academic  studies  was  very  wearisome  and  unin 
teresting.  When  the  28th  of  August  came,  the  date  for 
breaking  up  camp  and  going  into  barracks,  I  felt  as  though 
I  had  been  at  West  Point  always,  and  that  if  I  stayed  till 
graduation  I  would  have  to  remain  always." 

Undoubtedly  the  boy  was  homesick.  Every  wind  that 
blew  from  the  west  was  a  reminder  of  home.  Every  let 
ter  from  his  cousins,  his  companions,  from  his  father  and 
mother,  made  him  long  for  the  little  Ohio  town.  He  had 
no  realization  of  its  squalor,  its  narrow  bigotry.  He  knew 
only  the  boy's  side  of  it.  It  was  all  poetry  to  him  then. 
Its  security,  repose,  and  homely  good  will  seemed  the  most 
desirable  things  in  the  world. 

During  this  time,  before  he  had  settled  into  place  among 
his  fellows,  he  read  a  great  many  novels  of  the  standard 
sort,  and  was  much  benefited  thereby.  He  wrote  some 
capital  letters  home,  telling  of  his  life  and  reading.  When 
the  examination  came  in  January  he  surprised  himself  by 
taking  a  very  good  place  in  the  class,  especially  in  mathe 
matics  and  kindred  studies.  He  was  not  a  good  linguist, 
as  might  be  inferred,  but  was  not  positively  disreputable, 
even  in  his  French.  He  never  quite  reached  the  foot  in 

He  was  not  resigned  to  being  a  soldier  even  after  the 
January  examination ;  and  when,  in  the  midwinter,  a  bill 
was  introduced  in  Congress  to  abolish  the  West  Point 
Academy,  he  read  the  debates  with  absorbed  interest, 
hoping  it  would  be  carried.  "  It  never  passed,  and  a  year 
later  I  would  have  been  sorry  to  have  seen  it  succeed.  My 

*  "  Personal  Memoirs."  This  is  the  old  man's  comment.  The  boy's 
letter  should  be  set  over  against  it. 

THE   TRIALS   OF    A    PLEBE  4$ 

idea  was  then  to  get  through  the  course,  secure  a  detail 
for  a  few  years  as  assistant  professor  of  mathematics  at  the 
academy,  and  afterward  obtain  a  permanent  position  in 
some  respectable  college;  but  circumstances  always  did 
shape  my  course  different  from  my  plans."  *  This  was 
his  peaceful  and  modest  day-dream,  into  which,  no  doubt, 
some  one  of  the  young  girls  of  Georgetown  naturally 

He  was  not  involved  in  any  mischief  at  the  academy, 
and  there  is  no  record  that  he  ever  went  to  Benny  Haven's, 
though  he  may  have  done  so.  He  was  a  good  boy  with 
out  being  effeminate.  The  testimony  of  his  companions — 
Quinby,  Ingalls,  Hamilton,  Longstreet,  Franklin — is  con 
current  at  this  point: 

"  He  was  a  lad  without  guile.  I  never  heard  him  utter 
a  profane  or  vulgar  word.  He  was  a  boy  of  good  native 
ability,  although  by  no  means  a  hard  student."  f 

"  So  perfect  was  his  sense  of  honor  that  in  the  numer 
ous  cabals  which  were  often  formed  his  name  was  never 
mentioned,  for  he  never  did  anything  which  could  be  sub 
ject  for  criticism  or  reproach.  He  soon  became  the  most 
daring  horseman  in  the  academy."  J 

He  had  a  way  of  solving  problems  out  of  rule  by  the 
application  of  good  hard  sense,  and  Rufus  Ingalls  ends  by 
saying :  "  When  our  school  days  were  over,  if  the  average 
opinion  of  the  members  of  the  class  had  been  taken,  every 
one  would  have  said  :  '  There  is  Sam  Grant ;  he  is  a  splen 
did  fellow,  a  good,  honest  man  against  whom  nothing  can 
be  said,  and  from  whom  everything  may  be  expected.' ' 

One  of  the  keenest  observers  in  his  class  saw  more  in 
him  than  his  instructors.  "  He  had  the  most  scrupulous 
regard  for  truth.  He  never  held  his  word  light.  He 
never  said  an  untruthful  word,  even  in  jest.  He  was  of  a 
reflective  mind,  and  at  times  very  reticent  and  somber. 
Something  seemed  working  deep  down  in  his  thought 
— things  he  knew  as  little  about  as  we.  There  would  be 

*  "Personal  Memoirs." 
t  General  Viele. 

t  General  James  Longstreet,  afterward  an  eminent  and  able  general  in 
the  Confederate  army. 

46  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

days,  even  weeks,  at  a  time  when  he  would  be  silent  and 
somber — not  morose.  He  was  a  cheerful  man,  and  yet 
he  had  these  moments  when  he  seemed  to  feel  some  pre 
monition  of  a  great  future,  wondering  what  he  was  to  do 
and  what  he  was  to  become.  He  was  moved  by  a  very 
sincere  motive  to  join  the  Dialectic  Society,  which  was 
the  only  literary  society  we  had.  I  did  not  belong,  but 
Grant  joined,  while  we  were  room-mates,  with  the  aim  to 
improve  in  his  manner  of  expressing  himself."  And  a 
certificate  of  membership,  still  extant,  shows  Grant  to 
have  been  sufficiently  well  thought  of  by  the  members  to 
have  been  elected  its  president* 

All  this  does  not  mean  that  he  was  reserved  or  priggish. 
He  was  generally  ready  for  any  fun  which  did  not  involve 
deceit  or  lying.  "  He  had  a  sense  of  humor,"  W.  B.  Frank 
lin  said.  "  No  man  can  be  called  a  '  good  fellow/  as  Grant 
was,  and  be  a  dullard."  He  was  ready  for  a  frolic.  One 
night  a  chicken  was  being  roasted  in  Grant's  room,  when 
a  tack  (tactical  officer)  was  heard  at  the  door.  Grant  hid 
the  chicken  and  saucepan,  and  stood  "  attention  "  before 
the  fire,  with  face  quite  impassive.  The  officer  entered. 
Grant  saluted.  The  officer  walked  around  the  room,  look 
ing  very  hard  at  the  ceiling  and  walls,  where  nothing  could 
be  seen.  "  Mr.  Grant,  I  think  there  is  a  peculiar  smell  in 
your  room." 

"  I  've  noticed  it,  sir,"  replied  Grant. 

"  Be  careful  that  something  does  not  catch  fire." 

"  Thank  you,  sir,"  replied  Grant,  saluting. 

The  two  years  wore  away  at  last,  and,  with  a  very  good 
record,  he  applied  for  a  vacation,  and  secured  it. 


"  Be  it  known  that  James  Allen  Hardie  of  the  State  of  New  York  is  entitled 
to  all  the  rights  and  privileges  of  an  honorary  member  of  the  Dialectic  Society. 
' '  In  Testimony  of  which  we  have  caused  to  be  hereunto  affixed  the  seal  of  the 
Society  and  the  signatures  of  our  President  and  Secretary. 
"  U.  H.  GRANT, 

President.     (  Dated  at  the  Hall  of  the  Society,  West 
"  W.  S.  HANCOCK,        r  Point,  June  20,  1843." 
Secretary.     ) 

(From  original,  in  possession  of  Mr.  Joseph  C.  Hardie,  Washington,  D.  C.) 



IV  TE  AN  WHILE,  Grant's  father  had  removed  from 
IVl  Georgetown  to  Bethel,  a  small  town  a  few  miles 
nearer  Cincinnati,  and  had  established  a  fine  tannery  there. 

The  cadets  of  that  day  were  only  allowed  one  furlough 
during  the  course  of  study,  and  Ulysses  looked  forward 
with  great  eagerness  to  his  return  to  his  parents  and  to 
his  home. 

From  Harrisburg  homeward  he  had  the  company  of 
his  grandmother  Simpson  and  Miss  Kate  Lowe,  a  very 
charming  young  lady  from  New  York,  who  helped  him 
bear  in  patience  the  long  canal-boat  ride  to  Hollidaysburg. 

It  fell  at  the  end  of  the  lovely  month  of  June,  the  way 
led  through  the  exquisite  scenery  of  Pennsylvania,  and 
the  boat  abounded  in  material  comforts.  Grant  himself, 
in  speaking  of  the  charms  of  this  route,  says :  "  With  the 
comfortable  packets,  no  mode  of  conveyance  could  be 
more  pleasant,  when  time  was  not  an  object " ;  and  obvi 
ously,  in  this  case,  time  was  no  object. 

Miss  Lowe  considered  Cadet  Grant  a  fine-looking  young 
man.  He  had  clear  eyes  and  good  features;  but  was 
chiefly  attractive  on  account  of  his  splendid  carriage  and 
soldierly  bearing.  He  was  fastidious  in  dress,  wearing 
always  a  blue  sack-coat  and  white-duck  trousers,  of  which 
he  seemed  to  have  a  fresh  pair  for  every  day  in  the  week. 
Though  somewhat  bashful,  he  was  never  awkward,  and 
though  rather  reserved  and  reticent  in  company,  he  always 
had  something  to  say.  The  strongest  bond  between  them 
was  their  mutual  love  for  riding,  and  horses  and  horse- 


48  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

manship  was  a  topic  of  unfailing  interest,  while  current 
events  and  neighborhood  gossip  came  in  for  their  proper 
share.  Polite  literature  was  also  a  fruitful  theme,  for  Grant 
at  this  time  was  a  great  lover  of  good  novels — was  given, 
indeed,  to  spending  rather  too  much  of  his  time  at  West 
Point  devouring  them,  Bulwer,  Cooper,  Marryat,  Scott, 
Lever,  and  Washington  Irving  taking  their  turn  with  many 

His  most  charming  characteristic,  however,  was  his 
extreme  courtesy ;  he  was  full  of  delicate  and  kind  atten 
tions,  not  less  to  his  aged  grandmother  than  to  the  most 
fascinating  young  woman. 

It  was  late  when  he  reached  home — in  the  riotous  lux 
uriance  of  summer  not  yet  past  its  freshness.  The  boy 
was  nineteen,  and  full  of  the  joy  of  life.  The  world  seemed 
a  good  place  to  be  in  during  those  care-free  weeks.  The 
only  pain  in  his  life  was  the  thought  of  the  shortness  of 
the  play-spell. 

He  went  straight  to  his  sweet  and  gentle  mother,  of 
course.  "Why,  Ulysses,"  she  said,  with  a  face  shining 
with  pride,  "  you  Ve  grown  much  straighter  and  taller." 

"  Yes,  mother,"  he  replied  ;  "  they  teach  us  to  be  erect." 

The  father's  pride  in  his  boy  was  boundless.  He  pro 
vided  him  with  a  fine  young  colt  to  ride,  and  after  a  day 
at  home,  he  rode  like  a  pursued  Sioux  over  to  George 
town,  to  see  the  girls  and  boys  of  his  acquaintance.  It  is 
remembered  that  he  used  to  drive  over  "  like  Jehu,  and 
load  in  some  old  friend,  and  go  off  a-whizzin' !  " 

One  of  the  girls  he  hastened  to  see  was  Miss  Mary  King. 
To  her  he  had  significantly  sent  one  of  his  best  drawings 
from  West  Point.  The  drawing  is  signed  "  U.  H.  Grant." 
These  things  give  color  to  the  tradition  that  Miss  King 
was  the  boyhood  sweetheart  who  had  made  West  Point 
seem  a  long  way  off.  Of  her  little  can  be  learned  save 
that  she  had  accepted  another  wooer.  It  is  not  remem 
bered  that  Ulysses  grew  wan  with  grief.  Perhaps  Miss 
Lowe  was  a  helpful  influence. 

The  Grant  home  in  Bethel  was  a  comfortable  brick 
house  similar  to  the  home  in  Georgetown;  but  the  tan 
nery  was  much  more  extensive.  The  village  itself  was 

s  .  V 

A  sketch  made  by  Grant  about  the  time  he  was  at  West  Point. 
Reproduced  by  permission  from  the  original  drawing,  owned  by  C.  F.  Gunther,  Chicago,  and  now  first  published. 

A  water-color  sketch  made  by  Grant  about  the  time  he  was  at  West  Point. 
Reproduced  by  permission  from  the  original,  owned  by  Mrs.  Rotherey,  Newark,  New  Jersey,  and  now  first  published. 


hardly  more  than  a  street  lined  with  a  dozen  buildings, 
whose  broadsides  stood  close  to  the  narrow  walks — a  style 
of  architecture  not  Northern,  nor  Southern,  nor  Western, 
but  partaking  of  the  characteristics  of  them  all,  in  the 
manner  of  Georgetown  and  Batavia.  Like  Georgetown, 
it  had  also  been  hewn  out  of  the  forest,  and  had  no  river 

The  people  commented  freely  on  the  young  cadet's 
improved  manners,  and  the  Georgetown  "  Gravel  Club," 
which  met  under  the  trees  before  the  court-house  door, 
admitted  that  he  might  make  a  decent  mark  for  muskets, 
after  all.  They  did  this  grudgingly,  to  be  sure ;  for  wise 
acres  in  a  small  town  are  very  loath  to  change  their 
views.  They  arrogate  to  themselves  the  infallibility  of 
gods  and  popes.  Sitting  on  counters  and  nail-kegs  as 
upon  thrones,  they  still  continued  to  direct  the  destiny  of 
the  world,  including  that  of  Cadet  Grant. 

"  His  neat  undress  uniform,  his  erect  carriage,  pleasant 
face,  and  his  easy  and  graceful  horsemanship,  won  hearty 
commendation  from  the  unprejudiced.  The  young  cadet 
made  many  visits  to  the  home  of  John  W.  Lowe,  a  mem 
ber  of  the  bar.  in  whose  home  Miss  Kate  Lowe  was 

With  rides  and  walks  with  the  girls,  and  games  with  the 
boys,  the  vacation  passed.  It  was  all  too  sorrowfully 
short,  and  the  young  cadet  said  good-by  with  a  sigh  of 
pain.  However,  he  was  young,  and  had  attached  himself 
to  his  chums,  Rufus  Ingalls,  Charles  Hamilton,  and  others 
of  the  most  promising  of  his  classmates,  and  he  soon 
found  his  heart  as  light  and  his  mind  as  untroubled  as 

"  I  enjoyed  this  vacation  beyond  any  other  period  of 
my  life,"  he  said  afterward;  and  the  words  must  be  taken 
at  their  utmost  value,  for  Ulysses  Grant  seldom  allowed 
himself  even  this  much  in  the  way  of  emotional  expression. 



1*'O  return  to  the  barrack  life  after  the  glorious  free 
dom  of  the  vacation  was  like  returning  to  prison. 
Again  the  insistent  snarl  of  the  drum  summoned  to  roll- 
call.  The  bugle,  the  morning  gun,  the  staccato  com 
mands  of  officers,  brought  a  routine  which  clamped  like 
an  iron  band;*  but  this  wore  off  in  a  few  days,  and  the 
pleasant  things  reasserted  their  charm. 

It  had  its  compensations,  this  life,  which  got  hold  ot 
Cadet  Grant  at  last.  It  was  a  healthful  life,  this  cease 
less  marching  to  and  fro,  this  vigorous,  regular  routine. 
The  instruction  was  good,  the  exercise  well  timed  and 
well  considered,  and  the  cadets  were  all  markedly  grace 
ful,  strong,  and  well.  It  had  its  beautiful  side,  too.  The 
surroundings  of  the  place  are  noble,  and  the  sun  rises  and 
sets  in  unspeakable  glory  of  color.  The  shaven  green  ot 
the  lawn,  the  gleam  of  tents,  the  swing  of  columns,  the 
ripple  of  pliant  snow-white  trousers  beneath  a  band  of 
blue  coats,  the  crash  of  horn  and  cymbals,  the  clamor  and 
squeal  of  drum  and  fife,  the  boom  of  sunset  gun,  the  rum 
ble  and  jar  of  wheeling  artillery — all  these  sounds  and  pic 
tures  came  to  be  keen  pleasures  to  divide  the  dull  gray 
hours  of  hard  study  with  moments  of  purple  and  gold. 

The  cavalry  drill,  which  was  added  in  1841,  undoubtedly 
helped  Cadet  Grant  to  endure  these  last  years.  Every 
morning  of  the  autumn,  while  the  maples  turned  from 
green  to  gold  and  orange  and  scarlet,  the  battalion  wheeled 

*  This  is  made  evident  by  the  increase  of  demerit  marks  during  the  first 
month  after  vacation. 



over  the  parade-ground.  The  call  of  the  bugles,  the  thrill 
ing  commands,  the  reel  of  the  horses,  the  clang  of  sabers, 
the  splendid  voices  of  the  commanders,  the  drumming  of 
hoofs,  the  swift  swing  into  perfect  alignment, — all  these 
movements  helped  him  to  forget  his  homesickness,  and 
gave  him  appetite  for  dinner  and  what  came  after. 

A  deeper  effect  was  beginning  to  appear.  He  felt  some 
stirrings  of  ambition  to  be  a  military  leader.  They  were 
not  very  pronounced,  but  sufficiently  definite  to  enable 
him  to  write  afterward: 

"  In  fact,  I  regarded  General  Scott  and  Captain  C.  F. 
Smith,  the  commandant  of  cadets,  as  the  two  men  most  to 
be  envied  in  the  nation." 

He  concluded,  at  length,  to  remain  in  the  army,  and 
wished  to  enter  the  cavalry — moved  thereto,  of  course,  by 
his  love  of  horses ;  but  as  there  was  only  one  regiment  of 
cavalry  in  the  army  at  that  time,  the  chance  for  a  position 
in  the  cavalry  was  not  good.  Nevertheless,  at  graduation 
he  indicated  his  first  choice,  the  cavalry,  and  his  second 
choice,  the  Fourth  Infantry. 

He  was  brevetted  second  lieutenant  of  the  Fourth 
Infantry,  and  ordered  to  report  to  his  command  at  Jefferson 
Barracks,  St.  Louis,  after  a  short  vacation. 

The  entire  army  of  the  United  States  at  that  time 
numbered  less  than  eight  thousand  men,  and  the  supply 
of  officers  then,  as  now,  was  embarrassingly  large.  It  was 
the  custom,  therefore,  to  brevet  graduates  second  lieu 

He  graduated  the  twenty-first  in  a  roll  of  thirty-nine, 
with  a  fair  record  in  all  things,  a  good  record  in  mathematics 
and  engineering,  and  a  remarkable  record  as  horseman. 
More  than  a  hundred  had  entered  with  him,  but  one  by  one 
they  had  dropped  out  till  but  thirty-nine  remained.  Rid 
ing  his  horse  York,  he  leaped  a  bar  five  feet  six  and  a 
half  inches  high — a  mark,  it  is  said,  which  has  never  been 

"One  afternoon  in  June,  1843,  while  I  was  at  West 
Point  a  candidate  for  admission  to  the  Military  Academy, 
I  wandered  into  the  riding-hall,  where  the  members  of  the 
graduating  class  were  going  through  their  final  mounted 

52  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

exercises  before  Major  Richard  Delafield,  the  distinguished 
engineer  (then  superintendent),  the  academic  board,  and  a 
large  assemblage  of  spectators. 

"  When  the  regular  services  were  completed,  the  class, 
still  mounted,  was  formed  in  line  through  the  center  of 
the  hall.  The  riding-master  placed  the  leaping-bar  higher 
than  a  man's  head,  and  called  out,  '  Cadet  Grant ! ' 

"  A  clean-faced,  slender  young  fellow,  weighing  about 
one  hundred  and  twenty  pounds,  dashed  from  the  ranks  on 
a  powerfully  built  chestnut-sorrel  horse,  and  galloped  down 
the  opposite  side  of  the  hall.  As  he  turned  at  the  farther 
end,  and  came  into  the  straight  stretch  across  which  the  bar 
was  placed,  the  horse  increased  his  pace  and  measured  his 
strides  for  the  great  leap  before  him,  bounded  into  the  air, 
and  cleared  the  bar,  carrying  his  rider  as  if  man  and  beast 
were  welded  together.  The  spectators  were  breathless. 

" '  Very  well  done,  sir,'  growled  old  Herschberger,  the 
riding-master,  and  the  class  was  dismissed."  * 

When  spoken  to  about  this  feat,  he  was  accustomed  to 
smile  a  little  bashfully,  and  retreat  by  saying :  "  Yes ;  York 
was  a  wonderfully  good  horse." 

Apparently  Grant  remained  markedly  unmilitary 
throughout  the  four  years'  course.  He  served  as  a  private 
throughout  the  first  two  years  of  his  course.  During  the 
third  year  he  was  made  sergeant,  but  was  dropped  (pro 
motions  at  that  time  were  made  for  soldierly  qualities, 
and  had  no  exact  relation  to  excellence  in  studies),  and 
during  the  fourth  year  he  served  again  as  private.  He 
had  no  real  heart  in  the  military  side  of  the  life.  Its 
never-ending  salutes,  reprimands,  drills,  and  parades  wore 
upon  him. 

"  I  did  not  take  to  my  studies  with  avidity ;  in  fact,  I 
rarely  read  over  a  lesson  the  second  time  during  the  entire 
cadetship.  I  devoted  more  time  to  reading  books  from 
the  library  than  to  books  relating  to  the  course  of  studies."  f 

"  Notwithstanding  this  modest  statement,  Cadet  Grant 
stood  well  in  his  studies.  The  first  year  he  took  up  French 

*  James  B.  Frye,  afterward  general  in  the  Civil  War ;  Captain  L.  Shields 
and  General  E.  G.  Viele  also  speak  of  Grant's  remarkable  horsemanship, 
t  "  Personal  Memoirs." 


and  mathematics,  and  though  the  course  was  severe,  in 
cluding  algebra,  geometry,  trigonometry,  application  of 
algebra  to  geometry,  etc.,  he  stood  fifteenth  in  a  class  of 
sixty  in  mathematics,  and  forty-ninth  in  French,  and 
twenty-seventh  in  order  of  general  merit.  The  second 
year  he  climbed  three  points  in  general  merit,  and  stood 
twenty-fourth  in  a  class  of  fifty-three.  He  ranked  Fred 
erick  Steele  and  Rufus  Tngall?,  and  stood  tenth  in  mathe 
matics  and  twenty-third  in  drawing,  but  was  below  the 
center  in  ethics  and  French.  In  his  third  year  he  rose 
in  his  drawing  to  nineteen,  and  was  twenty-second  in 
chemistry  and  fifteenth  in  philosophy,  which  was  a  very 
good  standing  indeed.  He  rose  to  twenty  in  general 
merit,  sixteen  in  engineering,  seventeen  in  mineralogy  and 
geology,  but  was  a  little  below  the  average  in  ethics  and 
artillery  and  infantry  practice." 

In  general,  it  may  be  said  that  he  left  the  academy 
with  a  good  average  record  as  a  student  and  a  very  high 
record  as  a  man. 

"  He  betrayed  no  trust,  falsified  no  word,  violated  no 
rights,  manifested  no  tyranny,  sought  no  personal  aggran 
dizement,  complained  of  no  hardships,  displayed  no  jeal 
ousy,  oppressed  no  subordinate,  and  was  ever  known  for 
his  humanity,  sagacity,  courage,  and  honor." 

These  were  negative  virtues,  it  is  true.  On  the  posi 
tive  side  little  could  be  said  at  that  time.  He  was  not  a 
man  of  obvious  powers.  He  left  the  gate  at  West  Point 
small,  obscure,  poor,  and  without  political  friends  or  in 
fluential  relatives,*  a  kind,  obliging,  clean-lipped,  good- 
hearted  country  boy,  who  could  ride  a  horse  over  a  picket- 
fence  or  across  a  tight  rope. 

To  his  old  playmates  in  Georgetown  he  seemed  a  self- 
reliant,  well-balanced  young  soldier.  The  training  had 
done  much  for  the  shy  lad. 

*  It  is  reported  that  two  of  the  teachers,  in  talking  over  the  class,  asked 
each  other,  "  Who  is  the  smartest  man  in  the  class?  "  and  one  replied,  in  his 
turn,  "  Sam  Grant."  This,  however,  is  of  the  order  si  post  facto  prophecy. 


HE    spent    his    furlough    in    Bethel    and   Georgetown. 
During  his  stay  he  was   invited   by  the  officers  of 
the  militia  to  drill  the  troops  at  "  general  muster/'  which 
took  place  at  Russelsville  during  August  of  1844,  and  this 
was  his  first  opportunity  of  command. 

These  semiannual  musterings  of  the  possible  soldiery 
of  the  country  had  come  to  be  a  jolly  farce.  It  was 
ordered  by  State  law  twice  each  year,  however,  and  so  it 
was  made  the  most  of. 

The  troops  were  called  the  "  Corn-stalk  Brigade  "  be 
cause  of  their  lack  of  guns  and  uniforms.  Occasionally 
some  wag  would  appear  with  a  broomstick  or  a  stalk  of 
corn  in  place  of  musket.  And  discipline  was  not  coercive 
enough,  nor  command  military  enough,  to  make  general 
muster  other  than  a  diversion  to  which  the  people  as 
sembled  to  trade  horses,  drink  cider,  and  eat  gingerbread, 
which  was  considered  in  the  light  of  ice-cream  and  candy 
by  the  young  fellows  and  their  girls. 

On  that  day  the  people  came  on  horseback  and  afoot 
from  every  nook  of  the  country  with  such  soldierly  be 
longings  as  they  had — guns  of  all  eras,  and  coats  and  caps 
of  all  sorts  and  colors.  The  officers,  pompous  in  martial 
toggery,  woofed  and  grunted  and  howled  their  orders  at 
the  straggling  files  for  an  hour  or  two,  then  lay  off  to 
lunch  and  talk  politics,  while  the  men  traded  horses  and 
settled  any  odd  scores  they  might  have  on  hand  by  fist- 
and-face  encounters ;  and  at  sundown  every  one  went  home, 
conscious  of  a  duty  well  done  and  a  day  well  spent. 


U.  S.  Grant  as  Brevet  Second  Lieutenant,  age  21  years. 
Taken  in  Cincinnati  in  1843,  Just  after  graduation  from  West  Point. 

U.  S.  Grant  as  Captain,  while  stationed  at  Sacket's  Harbor, 
New  York,  1849,  age  27  years. 

From  a  very  small  miniature. 


In  1844,  however,  the  Mexican  War  excitement  was 
rising,  and  the  turnout  was  naturally  larger  and  the  soldiers 
more  serious  of  mind ;  then,  too,  it  was  known  that  Cadet 
Grant  was  to  be  present  to  drill  the  troops,  and  that 
added  to  the  interest. 

The  scene  impressed  itself  ineffaceably  on  certain  of 
young  Grant's  playmates,  because  it  seemed  wonderful, 
even  revolutionary,  to  see  a  young  lad  such  as  Cadet 
Grant  looked,  ordering  the  pompous  old  officers  about. 
"  He  looked  very  young,  very  slender,  and  very  pale." 

"  He  was  dressed  in  a  long  blue  coat  with  big  epaulets 
and  big  brass  buttons,  and  his  trousers  seemed  to  be 
white,  though  they  may  have  been  a  light  gray.  He 
wore  a  cap,  and  a  red  sash  around  his  waist,  and  he  rode 
his  horse  in  fine  style."  He  handled  his  men  in  a  way  to 
make  his  former  detractors  marvel. 

"  I  was  particularly  struck  with  his  voice — that  is,  his 
way  of  using  it.  The  old  men  barked  out  their  com 
mands  ;  you  could  n't  tell  what  they  said ;  noise  seemed 
to  be  their  idea  of  command.  But  Grant's  voice  was 
clear  and  calm,  and  cut  across  the  parade-ground  with 
great  precision.  It  was  rather  high  in  pitch,  but  it  was 
trained;  I  could  tell  that,  though  I  was  only  a  boy." 

This  was  the  young  soldier's  first  command,  and  must 
have  been  one  of  his  red-letter  days.  Being  human,  no 
doubt  he  rejoiced  in  showing  his  old  neighbors  that  they 
had  not  properly  estimated  him,  and  being  young,  he  en 
joyed  the  shy  glances  of  admiration  which  the  girls  gave 
him  as  he  passed  in  his  resplendent  uniform. 

It  must  have  been  after  this  that  he  fell  in  with  the 
unwashed,  one-gallused  Cincinnati  street  gamin  who 
trotted  by  his  side  long  enough  to  pipe  these  mystic 
words,  worthy  of  Gavroche : 

"Soldier,  will  you  work?  No,  sirree!  I  '11  sell  my 
shirt  first." 

His  cutting  sarcasm  gave  Ulysses  such  a  distaste  of  his 
uniform  that  thenceforth  he  shunned  the  slightest  display 
of  his  rank.* 

At  this  time  he  was  a  small  young  fellow,  a  little  over 

*  "  Personal  Memoirs." 

56  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

five  feet  seven  inches  in  height,  and  weighing  but  one 
hundred  and  seventeen  pounds,  and,  according  to  his  first 
portrait,  his  face  was  strongly  lined,  like  his  father's,  with 
fine,  straight  nose  and  square  jaws.  A  pleasant  and 
shrewd  face  it  was,  with  a  twinkle  in  the  gray-blue  eyes 
when  amused,  and  a  comical  twist  in  the  long,  flexible 
lips  when  smiling.  His  hair  was  a  sandy  brown,  and  his 
complexion  still  inclined  to  freckles.  His  early  sweetheart 
had  married  another  man,  and  his  second  had  not  returned 
his  love,  but  no  deep  sorrow  appears  on  his  face. 

His  ambitions  were  not  inordinate.  He  still  held  to 
the  idea  of  getting  a  place  to  teach  in  some  quiet  place, 
with  a  salary  sufficient  to  support  a  wife.  He  had  no 
corrupting  desire  for  glory — for  personal  aggrandizement. 
He  had  no  somber  and  lurid  dreams  of  conquest.  He 
did  not  look  away  to  Mexico  or  Peru  as  a  field  for  a 
sudden  rise  to  sole  and  splendid  command.  He  had  in 
mind  a  little  wooden  cottage  somewhere  under  the  maples, 
with  a  small  woman  to  care  for  the  home,  and  to  meet  him 
at  the  door  as  he  returned  from  his  daily  duties  as  pro 
fessor  of  mathematics  in  Blank  College.  All  this  is  very 
little  to  hope  for,  but  he  seems  to  have  given  it  a  great 
deal  of  troubled  thought.  The  awful  splendor  of  General 
Scott's  position  he  never  once  lifted  his  eyes  to.  Even 
that  of  his  instructor,  Captain  C.  F.  Smith,  seemed  unat 
tainable  security  and  glory. 

"  The  small  man  with  the  big  epaulets,"  under  the 
spell  of  a  street-boy's  derision,  had  even  lost  all  pleasure 
in  his  uniform,  and  his  civilian's  coat  was  a  pleasurable 
relief.  In  such  unmilitary  mood  he  took  his  way  to  his 
regiment  in  the  "  far  West." 



ABOUT  ten  miles  south  of  the  city  of  St.  Louis,  and  on 
JLJL  a  fine  height  which  overlooks  the  oily  tan-colored 
flood  of  the  Mississippi  River,  is  set  the  Jefferson  Barracks, 
of  early  Western  history.  New  buildings  have  been 
added  from  time  to  time,  and  the  trees  have  grown ;  but 
the  old  buildings,  set  around  the  square  of  sward,  are 
quite  untouched  by  change ;  they  look  much  as  they  did 
in  1843,  when  Ulysses  Grant  joined  the  army  there,  and 
entered  upon  his  duties  as  brevet  second  lieutenant  of  the 
Fourth  Infantry. 

They  are  of  whitewashed  stone,  with  galleries  and  gener 
ous  roofs,  in  the  Southern  manner.  At  the  eastern  end  of 
the  campus  is  set  the  flagstaff,  and  under  it  the  brass 
cannon  which  serves  as  evening  gun.  Across  the  river 
are  wooded  banks,  and  to  the  north  the  city  of  St.  Louis 
shows  vaguely  in  the  smoke  and  haze.  On  the  river 
below  steamboats  ply  with  shining  paddle-wheels  which 
make  no  noise.  There  is  a  singular  air  of  peace  and 
repose  and  gentle  life  within  this  square,  which  rings  at 
intervals  with  the  imperious  commands  of  the  bugle.  All 
fear,  all  anxiety  concerning  life,  seems  left  behind.  The 
men  move  quietly  about,  the  robins  tug  at  worms  on  the 
lawn,  and  the  blue-jay  flying  across  mocks  th^  bugle's 
note  with  saucy  unconcern. 

It  was  a  large  garrison  in  the  early  forties,  for  St.  Louis 
was  then  a  far- Western  town  and  a  most  important  mili 
tary  base.  No  less  than  sixteen  companies  of  infantry 
were  stationed  there  when  Lieutenant  Grant  was  assigned 


58  LIFE   OF    GRANT 

first  duty  after  his  graduation  from  West  Point.  Colonel 
Stephen  Kearney  commanded  the  post,  and  commanded  it 
reasonably  ;  and  the  young  lieutenant  found  army  life  very 
agreeable.  The  routine  was  not  severe,  and  though  his 
room  was  bare  and  the  life  monotonous,  yet  it  had  com 
pensating  charms.  For  diversion,  men  and  officers  alike 
looked  away  to  St.  Louis.  Between  roll-calls  and  drills 
the  officers  were  permitted  to  enjoy  themselves  without 
inquisitorial  search  inco  their  p*auj  motives. 

With  his  mind  still  set  on  securing  a  situation  as  teacher, 
Ulysses  set  to  work  to  do  some  btudying  and  reading. 
Possibly  this  resolution  kept  him  out  of  the  degenerating 
tendency  of  the  routine  life  which  makes  toward  indiffer- 
entism  and  mechanical  action.  No  one  has  yet  uttered  a 
word  of  criticism  of  his  life  there.* 

"  He  became  a  general  favorite  at  once,  and  his  name 
was  never  connected  with  anything  which  called  for  re 
buke  or  reproach,"  said  his  classmate  Longstreet.  u  The 
routine  was  strict  enough  to  account  for  every  man  and 
to  fill  his  time  pretty  thoroughly.  It  was  about  like  that 
at  West  Point,  with  thorough  daily  drill ;  for  the  Mexican 
War  was  threatening.'* 

From  the  barracks  an  irregular  road  led  to  the  north 
west  toward  Georgetown,  intersecting  the  famous  Gravois 
road  from  St.  Louis  at  a  point  about  nine  miles  outside 
of  the  city.  This  byway  came  to  be  a  familiar  one  to 
Ulysses  Grant,  for  the  father  of  his  classmate  and  room 
mate,  F.  T.  Dent,  lived  "  out  on  the  Gravois  road,"  a  mile 
or  so  beyond  its  intersection  with  the  barrack  road. 

"  Colonel "  Dent,  as  he  was  called,  was  a  man  of  some 
means  and  social  standing  in  the  neighborhood.  He  held 
a  large  tract  of  valuable  land,  and  owned  a  bunch  of  negro 
men  and  women,  and  was  living  in  simple  planter  fashion 
at  the  time  his  son  Fred  returned  from  West  Point. 

*  Lieutenant  Grant  was  assigned  first  duty  after  his  graduation  from  West 
Point.  As  he  marched  up  to  the  guard-house  the  first  time  as  supernumerary 
officer,  ruddy-cheeked,  square  of  shoulders,  a  crazy  but  harmless  soldier  who 
was  confined  in  the  guard-house  said,  with  an  inflection  as  mystical  as  that 
used  by  the  street-urchin  in  Cincinnati :  "  Ah,  there  you  go,  like  a  young  bear. 
All  your  troubles  before  you."  Lieutenant  Grant  gave  no  sign  of  hearing, 
but  no  doubt  thought  that  all  his  honors  were  before  him  also. 

The  house  in  which  Grant  went  to  school  at  Georgetown,  Ohio. 

"  White  Haven,"  the  Dent  homestead  near  St.  Louis,  Missouri. 
Redrawn  from  an  old  drawing  owned  by  Mrs.  U.  S.  Grant. 


Young  Dent  was  intimate  enough  with  Ulysses  Grant  to 
visit  him  at  his  home  in  Bethel,  and  also  to  invite  him  to 
visit  "  White  Haven,"  as  the  elder  Dent  rather  grandiosely 
called  his  farm-house.  Before  Ulysses  was  able  to  make 
this  visit,  however,  young  Dent  was  forced  to  report  for 
duty  in  a  regiment  stationed  farther  west,  and  had  not  the 
pleasure  of  introducing  his  room-mate  to  his  family. 

The  Dent  household  contained  three  young  girls,  Emma, 
Julia,  and  Ellen.  Julia,  a  girl  of  seventeen,  was  visiting  in 
St.  Louis,  and  Lieutenant  Grant,  upon  making  his  first 
v:si<-,  did  pot  meet  her,  though  he  found  the  house  filled 
with  young  people .  Besides  the  two  younger  sisters,  there 
were  also  two  brothers,  Lewis  and  Renshaw. 

Mr.  Grant  enjoyed  his  visits  to  White  Haven  even 
before  Miss  Julia  returned  from  St.  Louis ;  but  afterward 
he  very  frequently  rode  out  there,  clattering  furiously  up 
the  road  in  impetuous,  boyish  fashion,  for  between  drills 
and  roll-calls  was  brief  time  to  make  a  visit  in,  especially 
upon  a  young  lady  whose  home  was  several  miles  away. 

White  Haven  was  a  plain  farm-house  with  two  small 
ish  rooms  and  a  hall  in  the  main  part  below.  It  had  also 
an  addition  to  the  west,  and  a  negro  cabin  and  kitchen  to 
the  rear.  It  was  imposing  by  reason  of  its  galleries,  its 
position,  and  the  beautiful  surroundings  it  overlooked. 
It  was  not  so  overawing  to  the  young  Ohioan  as  the  im 
perious  "  colonel  "  himself,  who  was  at  this  time  a  middle- 
aged  man  of  large  frame  and  irascible  temperament,  quite 
the  ideal  in  manner  of  a  gentleman  of  the  plantation — a 
man  who  commanded  labor,  but  did  not  act  with  it. 

According  to  local  testimony,  Dent  took  small  interest 
in  Ulysses  Grant,  who  was  a  plain,  inexpressive  youth, 
quite  commonplace  in  all  discernible  ways.  Mrs.  Dent, 
on  the  contrary,  it  is  said,  liked  young  Grant  at  once. 
Her  keen  sense  apprehended  in  him  honesty,  loyalty,  and 
a  certain  refinement,  as  well  as  capacity.  Her  greetings 
continued  to  be  cordial  even  after  it  appeared  that  her 
daughter  Julia  was  wholly  committed  to  the  young  lieu 
tenant's  future  weal  or  woe. 

Georgetown  was  the  back  country  then.  St.  Louis  was 
ten  miles  away  over  a  bad  road,  and  its  pleasures  quite 

60  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

out  of  reach  in  winter;  therefore  the  Dent  family  took 
active  part  in  the  dances,  parties,  and  "  bees "  of  the 
neighbors.  At  the  Longs,  the  Fentons,  the  Sappingtons, 
the  young  people  gathered  of  evenings  to  dance  and  sing, 
and  in  these  merrymakings  Grant  and  some  of  his  fellow- 
officers  from  the  barracks  were  frequent  participants. 
Besides  these,  there  were  long  rides  along  the  woods  roads, 
and  evenings  spent  quietly  at  home  in  White  Haven. 
These  were  beautiful  days,  with  little  to  worry  about  and 
nothing  to  regret.  Within  the  barracks  all  was  peaceful. 
Across  the  lovely  hills  and  through  secluded  wooded  lanes 
die  lovers  rode  without  prevision  ci  trouble. 



BUT  outside,  in  the  nation  at  large,  were  signs  of  a 
gathering  storm.  The  one  political  issue  which 
overshadowed  all  others  was  the  question  of  the  annexa 
tion  of  Texas.  It  was,  in  fact,  the  slavery  problem  in  a 
new  form.  The  pro-slavery  leaders  felt  the  need  of 
acquiring  more  territory  with  which  to  hold  in  check  the 
growing  power  of  the  antislavery  States ;  the  Northwest 
was  coming  each  year  to  be  stronger  and  to  be  also  more 
pronouncedly  abolitionist  in  feeling.  The  inevitable  con 
flict  had  really  begun,  under  a  masked  campaign. 

Into  the  Mexican  territory  of  Texas,  under  cover  of  indi 
vidual  colonization,  settlement,  mainly  from  the  South,  had 
been  going  on  for  years  by  invitation  of  the  unsuspect 
ing  Mexicans.  The  planters  of  Louisiana  and  Mississippi 
took  not  merely  their  ideas  of  government,  but  their  slaves, 
with  them. 

These  colonists,  as  they  grew  in  power,  paid  small  heed 
to  the  far-away  and  revolution-distracted  Mexican  govern 
ment.  They  came  at  last  to  the  point  of  setting  up  an 
independent  government  of  their  own,  the  "  Lone  Star 
Republic,"  within  the  territory  of  the  Mexicans;  and  then 
the  United  States  was  suddenly  made  aware  of  the  doings 
of  this  distant  southwest  colony,  and  was  forced  to  take 
action  upon  the  whole  contention. 

Texas  seceded  from  Mexico,  won  its  battles  over  Santa 
Ana,  the  Mexican  President,  in  1836,  and  offered  itself  to 
the  United  States  and  was  accepted  by  Congress  in  1845. 
It  was  conceivable  to  the  pro-slavery  men  that  out  of  this 


62  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

enormous  territory  senatorial  districts  might  appear  to 
keep  the  balance  of  power  in  the  South  during  the  titanic 
struggle  which  the  fore-enlightened  now  plainly  saw 
coming.  Pending  this  acceptance  by  the  United  States, 
desultory  warfare  and  raiding  by  both  parties  was  going 
on  between  the  frontiers,  and  it  was  ostensibly  to  prevent 
filibustering  into  Texas  that  General  Zachary  Taylor,  com 
mander  of  the  Southwest  Military  District,  was  ordered 
to  occupy  the  disputed  territory  lying  between  the  Rio 
Grande  and  Nueces  rivers. 

It  was  not  much  to  fight  for,  this  land.  In  fact,  it  re 
mains  to-day  practically  unused — a  region  of  drought, 
covered  with  mesquit  and  cactus,  with  only  here  and  theie 
a  settler  lost  in  the  chaparral.  However,  anything  will  do 
as  a  pretext  when  a  fight  is  desired. 

Thus  while  Lieutenant  Grant  was  in  the  midst  of  his 
most  beautiful  year  of  love  and  comradeship  the  national 
leaders  were  plotting  for  party  aggrandizement  and,  sec 
ondly,  for  national  aggression. 

Up  to  this  time  the  young  soldier  had  not  taken  any 
very  vital  interest  in  politics,  and,  still  intent  on  leaving 
the  army,  had  written  to  Professor  Church,  his  old  in 
structor  at  West  Point,  asking  to  be  detailed  for  the  posi 
tion  of  assistant  teacher  of  mathematics.  To  this  letter 
Professor  Church  had  replied  expressing  willingness  to 
make  the  request;  and  being  much  encouraged,  Lieuten 
ant  Grant  had  been  applying  himself  to  the  necessary 
books  to  fit  himself  for  the  desired  position. 

His  life  was  a  round  of  pleasant  things — the  peaceful 
garrison  life,  the  dashing  rides  up  the  forest  road,  the 
simple,  hearty  greetings  of  the  people  at  Georgetown, 
and,  above  all,  the  presence  of  a  little  woman  to  share 
hopes  and  pleasures  with.  War  was  a  great  way  off,  and 
Texas  a  word  of  vague  significance  and  still  vaguer  geog 

However,  the  order  came  to  the  Fourth  Infantry  to 
break  camp  and  join  the  Second  Dragoons  at  Fort  Jessup 
in  Louisiana.  This  order  also  brought  to  Lieutenant 
Grant  a  realizing  sense  of  his  dependence  upon  the  good 
will  of  Miss  Julia  Dent.  He  had  just  obtained  a  twenty- 

CALL   TO    WAR  63 

day  leave  of  absence  to  visit  Ohio  when  the  order  came 
to  the  barracks.  He  was,  in  fact,  on  the  road,  and  there 
was  no  way  of  recalling  him,  save  by  letter;  so  he  jour 
neyed  on  without  worry. 

His  worry  began  when  a  letter  reached  him  telling  him 
his  regiment  was  about  to  move.  He  had  not  arrived  at 
a  definite  understanding  with  Miss  Dent,  being  content  to 
meet  her  day  by  day ;  but  now  war  was  threatening,  and 
it  seemed  of  paramount  necessity  that  he  should  know 
precisely  her  feeling  toward  him.  He  returned  in  express 
haste  to  Jefferson  Barracks.  Upon  arrival,  he  saddled 
his  horse  and  rode  immediately  to  Gravois. 

He  arrived  at  White  Haven  on  the  day  of  a  wedding 
among  friends  of  the  Dents,  and  all  things  conspired  to 
make  him  very  determined  and  more  than  usually  serious. 

He  found  Miss  Julia  in  a  carnage,  just  starting  to  the 
wedding  with  her  brother.  He  persuaded  the  brother  to 
take  his  horse,  and  so  won  a  place  in  a  single-seated 
carriage  with  Miss  Julia,  and  they  started. 

He  was  unusually  silent  at  first. 

Now  it  chanced  that  heavy  rains  had  swollen  the  creek 
to  abnormal  size,  and  the  frail  bridge  was  nearly  sub 
merged  with  a  wild  and  turbid  flood.  As  they  ap 
proached  it  Miss  Dent  grew  apprehensive,  and  said: 

"  Are  you  sure  it  is  all  right?  " 

"Oh,  yes;  it  's  all  right,"  he  replied,  man-fashion  to 

"  Well,  now,  Ulysses,  I  'm  going  to  cling  to  you  if  we 
go  down,"  Miss  Dent  said. 

"  We  won't  go  down,"  he  replied,  and  drove  resolutely 
across,  while  the  scared  girl  clung  to  his  arm. 

She  released  her  hold  as  they  reached  the  other  side  of 
the  bridge,  and  he  drove  on  in  thoughtful  silence  for  some 
distance.  At  length  he  cleared  his  throat. 

"  Julia,  you  spoke  just  now  of  clinging  to  me,  no  matter 
what  happened.  I  wonder  if  you  would  cling  to  me  all 
my  life  ?  "  This  was  a  great  deal  of  sentiment  and  imagery 
for  a  man  with  eight  generations  of  New  England  ancestry 
behind  him. 

Her  answer  was  favorable,  but,   being  astute    young 

64  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

Americans,  they  agreed  to  say  nothing  to  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Dent  till  his  return  from  the  South,  at  least.  He  was 
quite  sure  Colonel  Dent  would  not  favor  his  suit.  A  poor 
plain  young  second  lieutenant  (by  courtesy),  a  man 
whisked  about  at  the  command  of  the  War  Department, 
was  a  very  bad  match  for  Miss  Julia  Dent. 

Lieutenant  Grant  left  immediately  to  join  his  regiment 
near  Natchitoches,  in  Louisiana,  and  Miss  Dent  went  back 
to  White  Haven  to  wait,  which  is  the  lot  of  women.  She 
found  her  greatest  pleasure,  during  the  years  of  separation 
which  followed,  in  his  letters.  He  had  always  been  a 
good  letter- writer,  but  under  the  stimulus  of  love  and  a 
life  of  action  in  strange  scenes  he  surpassed  himself.  He 
delineated  the  landscape,  the  camp  life,  and  the  campaigns, 
and  through  all  his  letters  ran  the  expression  of  a  pure 
and  loyal  love. 

His  first  camp  was  near  the  town  of  Natchitoches,  in 
Louisiana.  It  is  an  old  French  town  situated  on  the  Red 
River.  At  that  time  the  Sabine  formed  the  United  States 
frontier  to  the  Southwest.  The  nearest  post  was  called 
Fort  Jessup,  but  the  camp,  which  was  on  a  pine  ridge, 
was  called  "  Camp  Salubrity  "  by  the  soldiers.  The  State 
of  Texas  was  not  yet  annexed,  though  annexation  was 
pending  in  Congress. 

In  a  letter  to  a  friend  he  describes  his  journey  to  Camp 
Salubrity,  and  says :  "  My  trip  was  marked  with  no  in 
cident,  save  one,  worth  relating,  and  that  one  is  laughable, 
curious,  important,  surprising,  etc. ;  but  I  can't  tell  it  now ; 
it  is  for  the  present  a  secret."  This  was  his  reference  to 
his  proposal  and  acceptance. 

He  describes  his  mode  of  living :  "  I  have  a  small  tent 
that  the  rain  runs  through  as  it  would  through  a  sieve. 
For  a  bedstead  I  have  four  short  pine  sticks  set  upright, 
and  planks  running  from  the  two  at  one  end  to  the  others ; 
for  chairs  I  use  my  trunk  and  bed ;  and  as  to  a  floor,  we 
have  no  such  luxury  yet.  Our  meats  are  cooked  in  the 
woods  by  servants  who  know  as  little  of  culinary  matters 
as  I  do  myself." 

The  regiment  remained  in  camp  at  Salubrity  for  a  year, 
waiting  for  further  orders.  During  this  time  the  officers 

CALL   TO    WAR  6$ 

whiled  away  the  days  by  visiting  Fort  Jessup,  Natchitoches, 
Grand  Grove,  and  other  places  of  interest.  Lieutenant 
Grant  learned  to  play  "  brag,"  and  on  rainy  days,  with 
Longstreet  and  other  young  officers,  used  to  play  all  day 
at  penny  stakes.  This  was  wildly  exciting  at  times,  but 
not  calamitous  to  any  player ;  sometimes  they  lost  seventy- 
five  cents ! 

Ostensibly  the  Third  and  Fourth  regiments  were  sta 
tioned  at  that  point  "to  prevent  filibustering  into  Texas," 
but  really  as  a  menace  to  Mexico  in  case  she  appeared  to 
contemplate  war.  Generally  the  officers  of  the  army  were 
indifferent  whether  the  annexation  should  be  consum 
mated  or  not;  but  Grant  was  bitterly  opposed  to  the 
measure.  He  saw  in  it  aggression  and  the  selfish  plans  of 
politicians,  and  he  began  also  to  comprehend  something 
of  the  far-reaching  policy  of  the  slave  interest,  which  had 
no  hope  of  new  territory  in  the  Northwest,  and  therefore 
must  seek  it  in  the  Southwest. 

There  is  something  inexorable  in  the  manner  in  which 
the  South  won  this  fight  for  new  territory,  and  something 
mystical  in  the  process  by  which  a  sectional  victory  came 
at  the  last  to  be  a  national  glory.  Looking  at  the  map  of 
1844  makes  it  hard  to  believe  that  the  United  States  could 
have  maintained  such  a  line  of  frontier.  New  Mexico, 
also  a  sparsely  settled  Mexican  province,  extended  into 
the  north  to  the  latitude  of  the  southern  line  of  Kansas. 
This  jagged,  vague,  and  wandering  line  was  too  long  to 
be  held.  It  needed  to  be  reduced  to  simple  terms. 

All  this  year  of  camp  life  the  discussion  raged  in  Con 
gress  and  in  the  North.  The  abolitionists  were  raising 
their  banner  with  a  ferocity  of  fanaticism  which  made  war 
a  certainty  and  a  necessity.  This  was  the  second  advan 
cing  wave  of  discussion.  War  was  prophesied  in  the  in 
tensity  of  this  discussion.  Slavery  won ;  the  State  was 
annexed.  In  March,  1845,  President  Tyler  signed  the 
bill  for  annexation,  and  Texas  became  a  part  of  the 
United  States,  and  the  "  army  of  observation"  was  or 
dered  to  occupy  "  the  disputed  territory,"  that  is  to  say, 
the  tract  lying  between  the  Nueces  and  Colorado  rivers. 

The  abolitionists  and  Free-soilers  of  the  North  received 

66  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

the  news  with  bitter  sorrow.  It  meant  at  least  two  more 
slave  States,  and  seemed  to  put  just  that  much  further 
off  the  abolition  of  human  slavery  in  the  nation.  The 
pro-slavery  element  was  correspondingly  elated,  and  set 
about  making  the  most  of  their  victory.  No  time  was 
allowed  for  a  settlement  with  regard  to  this  territory ;  but 
General  Taylor,  the  famous  Indian-fighter,  who  was  then 
in  command  of  the  Southwest  district,  was  ordered  to 
cross  the  Nueces  and  enter  upon  the  territory  in  dispute. 
"  If  they  offer  to  fight,  we  will  whip  them,"  was  the  feeling 
of  a  very  large  body  of  people  in  the  North  as  well  as  in 
the  South. 

Early  in  May,  Lieutenant  Grant,  believing  he  was  about 
to  go  into  war,  with  remote  chance  of  being  killed,  asked 
for  a  leave  of  absence,  and  hastened  to  St.  Louis  to  see 
his  bride  elect,  and  to  get  the  consent  of  Colonel  Dent  to 
his  union  with  his  daughter  Julia.  This  was  given  grudg 
ingly  and  with  reservations  and  provisos,  and  Lieutenant 
Grant  returned  to  his  regiment. 

Up  to  this  time  he  had  not  given  up  his  plan  to  become 
an  instructor  in  mathematics  at  West  Point.  He  still 
allowed  himself  to  dream  of  a  quiet  life  in  a  cottage  on 
the  Hudson — a  very  modest  home,  with  his  young  wife 
therein,  and  his  life  going  peacefully  and  unbrokenly  for 
ward.  He  had  less  military  zeal,  probably,  than  any 
officer  of  the  American  army. 

Nevertheless  he  was  a  soldier,  and  entered  upon  his 
duties  with  outward  readiness.  Early  in  July  the  regi 
ment  was  ordered  to  New  Orleans,  where  it  went  into 
barracks  and  waited  for  the  politicians  to  decide  upon  the 
next  order.  This  took  them  to  Corpus  Christi,  which  was 
a  small  village  at  the  mouth  of  the  Nueces  River  and  on 
the  edge  of  the  territory  in  dispute.  Here  Lieutenant 
Grant  came  under  general  command  for  the  first  time. 
There  were  about  three  thousand  men  under  the  imme 
diate  leadership  of  General  Zachary  Taylor.  Grant  was 
profoundly  impressed  with  this  bold,  ready,  and  uncon 
ventional  soldier,  whose  services  against  the  Indians  had 
already  raised  him  to  prominence  second  only  to  that  of 
General  Scott,  commander-in-chief  of  the  army. 

Lieutenant  U.  S.  Grant  and  Lieutenant  Alexander  Hays  in  1845,  when  they  were 
starting  for  the  Mexican  War. 

The  original  picture,  owned  by  Mrs.  Agnes  M.  Hays  Gormly,  was  taken  at  Camp  Salubrity,  Louisiana, 
in  1845.  Beside  Grant  (the  figure  in  the  background)  is  his  racing  pony  Dandy,  and  beside  Lieutenant 
Hays  is  his  pony  Sunshine.  The  two  men  had  been  fellow-cadets  at  West  Point,  and  served  in  the  same 
regiment  in  the  Mexican  War.  Afterward  Hays,  like  Grant,  retired  from  the  army,  to  reenter  it  at  the 
breaking  out  of  the  Civil  War  as  a  colonel  of  volunteers.  He  became  a  brigadier-general,  and  was  killed  in 
the  battle  of  the  Wilderness.  Grant,  on  learning  of  his  death,  said:  "  I  am  not  surprised  that  he  met  his 
death  at  the  head  of  his  troops;  it  was  just  like  him.  He  was  a  man  who  would  never  follow,  but  would 
always  lead,  in  battle." 

CALL   TO   WAR  67 

Texas  at  that  time  was  very  sparsely  settled.  San 
Antonio  was  but  a  village  and  fort,  and  Corpus  Christi 
was  a  cross  between  a  frontier  ranch  and  a  smugglers' 
camp.  Being  at  the  mouth  of  the  Nueces  River,  it  was 
the  objective  landing-place  for  an  "army  of  occupation." 
The  town,  when  the  army  landed  there,  consisted  of 
twenty  adobe  houses.  In  a  few  weeks  it  was  a  town  of 
a  thousand  inhabitants,  not  counting  the  soldiers.  Camp- 
followers,  traders,  as  well  as  citizens,  attracted  by  the 
presence  of  the  soldiers,  made  up  this  miscellaneous  and 
not  over-refined  village. 

There  was  hunting  on  the  plain  back  of  the  town,  but 
that  interested  Lieutenant  Grant  very  little ;  he  was  no 
gunner.  He  was  far  more  interested  in  the  wild  horses 
which  moved  in  myriads  over  the  Texas  levels. 

Life  at  Corpus  Christi  during  the  early  autumn  was  not 
pleasant.  The  heat  was  excessive  and  the  air  filled  with 
moisture.  People  live  there,  it  is  true,  and  apparently 
enjoy  life ;  but  the  mortality  among  those  not  acclimated 
is  very  great  in  the  heated  season  of  the  year.  The 
Northern  army  suffered ;  there  were  many  sick,  though 
Grant  remained  well  and  active. 

He  made  his  first  attempt  as  an  actor  at  this  time. 
"  The  officers,  eager  for  diversion,  had  built  a  theater, 
and  were  depending  upon  their  own  efforts  for  reimburse 
ment.  The  dramatic  company  was  necessarily  organized 
among  the  younger  officers,  who  took  both  male  and 
female  parts.  In  farce  and  comedy  they  did  well  enough, 
and  soon  collected  funds  enough  to  pay  for  the  building 
and  incidental  expenses.  At  length,  finding  themselves 
sufficiently  in  funds  to  send  over  to  New  Orleans  for  cos 
tumes,  they  concluded  to  try  tragedy.  The  choosing  of 
players  became  more  difficult  when  it  came  to  a  question 
of  the  '  Moor  of  Venice.'  Lieutenant  Theodoric  Porter 
was  selected  to  be  the  Moor;  and  Lieutenant  Grant,  be 
cause  of  his  small  stature,  handsome  face,  and  soft  voice, 
was  chosen  to  play  the  daughter  of  Brabantio.  He  looked 
very  well  indeed  dressed  up,  but  Porter  insisted  that  there 
was  hardly  sentiment  enough  in  having  a  man  play  the 
part ;  so  the  managers  sent  over  to  New  Orleans  for  Mrs. 

68  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

Hart,  who  was  very  popular  with  the  garrisons  of  Florida. 
She  came,  and  all  went  well."  Grant  played  in  several 
farces,  notably  in  "The  Irish  Lion."  •  Longstreet  was  in 
the  cast  also,  and  furnishes  an  account  of  it. 

Lieutenant  Grant  welcomed  any  relief  from  the  weari 
some  life  there  on  the  hot  sand,  and  when  the  opportunity 
offered  he  joined  the  paymaster's  outfit  on  its  regular  trip 
to  San  Antonio  and  Austin.  He  saw  the  prairie,  in  all 
its  majesty,  on  that  trip.  Deer,  antelope,  and  turkeys 
abounded.  It  was  a  lonely  land,  with  no  settlement  in 
all  the  long  way  between  Corpus  Christi  and  San  Antonio, 
which  was  already  famous  for  its  tragic  Alamo  and  its 
capture  by  Santa  Ana  some  years  before.  Grant  met 
with  no  hairbreadth  adventures  during  his  outing,  yet  it 
was  decidedly  a  memorable  thing  to  ride  by  day  over  this 
mighty  primeval  spread  of  sod,  sighting  the  unhaltered 
herds  of  cattle,  and  sleeping  at  night  in  the  grass,  with 
not  so  much  as  a  tent-cloth  between  him  and  the  stars. 

"  One  evening,  while  they  were  camped  in  the  wilder 
ness,  there  rose  a  multitudinous  howling  and  yelping  of 
wolves.  Grant,  not  used  to  the  ways  of  these  animals, 
was  seriously  alarmed.  His  companion  smiled,  and  said : 
'  How  many  do  you  think  there  are  ? ' 

"  '  Oh,  about  a  dozen,'  he  replied. 

" '  Let  's  go  and  see,'  suggested  the  other. 

"  They  charged  upon  the  fearsome  pack,  and  lo !  one 
wolf  had  made  all  the  noise!" 

Grant  laid  this  by  in  his  mind,  and  when  some  enemy 
made  loud  clamor  he  thought  of  the  solitary  wolf's  mani 
fold  v-^lping. 


MEANWHILE  President  Polk  was  in  a  quandary. 
He  wished  the  army  to  advance  in  hostile  guise, 
but  he  did  not  like  to  take  the  responsibility  of  command. 
He  sent  broad  hints  to  General  Taylor  that  it  was  de 
sirable  to  provoke  an  engagement;  but  Taylor  refused  to 
move  without  official  orders.  He  was  too  shrewd  not 
to  understand  the  Executive's  predicament.  He  insisted 
on  having  definite  and  unequivocal  instructions,  through 
proper  military  channels. 

At  length  Polk  ordered  the  army  to  proceed  to  the 
Rio  Grande. 

The  story  of  the  campaign  which  followed  was  well  set 
forth  by  Lieutenant  Grant  in  a  letter  written  at  Mata- 
moros  on  June  26,  1846.  Barring  some  comically  mis 
spelled  words,  it  is  a  clear  and  well-ordered  account  of 
the  battles  of  Palo  Alto  and  Resaca  de  la  Palma. 

I  have  just  received  your  letter  of  the  6th  of  June,  the  first  I 
have  had  from  you  since  my  Regt  took  the  field  in  anticipation 
of  the  Annexation  of  Texas.  Since  that  time  the  4th  Infantry 
has  experienced  £mt  little  of  that  ease  and  luxury  of  which  the 
Hon.  Mr  Black  speaks  so  much.  Besides  hard  marching  a  great 
part  of  the  time  we  have  not  even  been  blessed  with  a  good  tent 
as  a  protection  against  wind  and  weather. 

At  Corpus  Christs  our  troops  were  much  exposed  last  winter 
which  the  citizens  say  was  the  severest  season  they  have  had  for 
many  years.  From  Corpus  Christi  to  this  place  (a  distance  of 
about  1 80  miles)  they  had  to  march  through  a  long  sandy  desert 
covered  with  salt  ponds  and  in  one  or  two  instances  ponds  of 


70  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

drinkable  water  were  separated  by  a  whole  days  March.  The 
troops  suffered  much  but  stood  it  like  men  who  were  able  to 
fight  many  such  battles  as  those  of  the  8th  &  Qth  of  May,  that  is 
without  a  murmur. 

On  our  arrival  at  Rio  Grande  we  found  Matamoras  occupied 
by  a  force  superior  to  ours  (in  numbers)  who  might  have  made 
our  March  very  uncomfortable  if  they  had  have  had  the  spirit 
and  courage  to  attempt  it.  But  they  confined  their  hostilities 
(except  their  paper  ones)  to  small  detached  parties  and  single 
individuals  as  in  the  cases  you  mentioii  :n  your  letter,  until  they 
had  their  force  augmented  to  thrible  or  quadruple  ours  and  then 
they  made  the  bold  efforts  of  which  the  papers  are  full.  About 
the  last  of  April  we  got  word  of  the  enemy  crossing  the  river  no 
doubt  with  the  intention  of  cutting  us  off  from  our  supplies  at 
Point  Isabel.  On  the  ist  of  April  at  three  o'clock  General 
Taylor  started  with  about  2000  men  to  go  after  and  escort  the 
waggon  train  from  Point  Isabel,  and  with  the  determination  to 
cut  his  way,  no  matter  how  superior  their  numbers. 

Our  March  on  this  occation  was  as  severe  as  could  be  made. 
Until  three  o'clock  at  night  we  scarsely  halted,  then  we  laid 
down  in  the  grass  and  took  a  little  sleep  and  marched  the  bal- 
lance  of  the  way  the  next  morning.  Our  March  was  mostly 
through  grass  up  to  the  waist  with  a  wet  and  uneven  bottom 
yet  we  made  30  miles  in  much  less  than  a  day.  I  consider  my 
March  on  that  occation  equal  to  a  walk  of  sixty  miles  in  one 
day  on  good  roads  and  unencumbered  with  troops.  The  next 
morning  after  our  arrival  at  Point  Isabel  we  heard  the  enemies 
Artillery  playing  upon  the  little  Field  work  which  we  had  left 
Garrisoned  by  the  yth  Infy  and  two  Companies  of  Artillery. 
This  bombardment  was  kept  up  for  seven  days  with  a  loss  of 
but  two  killed  and  four  or  five  wounded  on  our  side.  The  loss 
of  the  enemy  was  much  greater  though  not  serious. 

On  the  7th  of  May  General  Taylor  started  from  P.  I.  with  his 
little  force  encombered  with  a  train  of  about  250  waggons  loaded 
with  proviosions  and  ammunition.  Although  we  knew  the  enemy 
was  between  us  and  Matamoras  and  in  large  numbers  too,  yet  I 
did  not  believe  I  was  not  able  to  appreciate  the  possibility  of  an 
attack  from  them.  We  had  heard  so  much  bombast  and  so 
many  threats  from  the  Mexicans  that  I  began  to  believe  that 
they  were  good  for  paper  wars  alone,  but  they  stood  up  to  their 
work  manfully. 

On  the  8th  when  within  about  14  miles  of  Matamoras  we 
found  the  enemy  drawn  up  in  line  of  battle  on  the  edge  of  the 
Priarie  next  a  piece  of  woods  called  Palo  Alto  (which  is  the 


Spanish  for  tall  Trees)  Even  then  I  did  not  believe  they  were 
going  to  give  battle.  Our  troops  were  halted  out  of  range  of 
Artillery  and  the  waggons  parked  and  the  men  allowed  to  fill 
their  canteens  with  water.  All  preparations  being  made  we 
marched  forward  in  line  of  battle  until  we  received  a  few  shots 
tr^m  the  enemy  and  then  we  halted  and  then  our  Artillery  com 

The  first  shot  was  fired  about  three  o'clock  p.  M.  and  was 
Kept  up  pretty  equally  on  both  sides  until  sun  down  or  after ;  we 
tnen  encamped  on  our  own  ground  and  the  enemy  on  theirs. 

We  supposed  that  the  loss  of  the  enemy  had  not  been  much 
greater  than  our  own  and  expected  of  course  that  the  fight 
would  be  renewed  in  the  morning.  During  that  night  I  believe 
all  slept  as  soundly  on  the  ground  at  Palo  Alto  as  if  they  had 
been  in  a  palace.  For  my  part  I  dont  think  I  even  dreamed  of 

During  the  days  fight  I  scarsely  thought  of  the  probability  or 
possibility  of  being  touched  myself  (although  9  Ib.  shots  were 
whistling  all  round)  until  near  the  close  of  the  evening  a  shot 
struck  the  ranks  a  little  ways  in  front  of  me  and  nocked  one 
man's  head  off,  nocked  the  under  jaw  of  Capt.  Page  entirely 
away  and  brought  several  others  to  the  ground.  Although 
Capt.  Page  received  so  terrible  a  wound  he  is  recovering  from 
it.  The  under  jaw  is  gone  to  the  wind  pipe  and  the  tongue 
hangs  down  upon  the  throat.  He  will  never  be  able  to  speak  or 
to  eat. 

The  next  morning  we  found  to  our  surprise  that  the  last  rear 
guard  of  the  enemy  was  just  leaving  their  ground,  the  main  body 
having  left  during  the  night.  From  Palo  Alto  to  Matamoras 
there  is  for  a  great  part  of  the  way  a  dense  forest  of  under 
growth,  here  called  Chapparel.  The  Mexicans  after  having 
marched  a  few  miles  through  this  were  reenforced  by  a  con- 
ciderable  body  of  troops.  They  chose  a  place  on  the  opposite 
side  from  us  of  a  long  but  narrow  pond  (called  Resaca  de  la 
Palma)  which  gave  them  greatly  the  advantage  of  position. 
Here  they  made  a  stand.  The  fight  was  a  pel  Mel  affair  evry 
body  for  himself.  The  Capparel  is  so  dense  that  you  may  be 
within  five  feet  of  a  person  and  not  know  it.  Our  troops  rushed 
forward  with  shouts  of  victory  and  would  kill  and  drive  away 
the  Mexicans  from  evry  piece  of  Artillery  they  could  get  their 
eyes  upon.  The  Mexicans  stood  this  hot  work  for  over  two 
hours  but  with  a  great  loss.  When  they  did  retreat  there  was 
such  a  panic  among  them  that  they  only  thought  of  safty  in 
flight.  They  made  the  best  of  their  way  for  the  river  and  where 

72  LIFE   OF    GRANT 

ever  they  struck  it  they  would  rush  in.  Many  of  them  no  doubt 
were  drowned. 

Our  loss  in  the  two  days  were  182  killed  &  wounded.  What 
the  loss  of  the  enemy  was  cannot  be  certainly  ascertained  but  I 
know  acres  of  ground  was  strewed  with  the  bodies  of  the  dead 
and  wounded.  I  think  it  would  not  be  an  over  estimate  to  say 
that  their  loss  from  killed,  wounded,  take  prisoners  and  missing 
was  over  2000  and  of  the  remainder  nothing  now  scarsely  re 
mains.  So  precipitate  was  their  flight  when  they  found  that  we 
were  going  to  cross  the  river  and  take  the  town,  that  sickness 
broke  out  among  them  and  as  we  have  understood,  they  have 
but  little  effective  force  left.  News  has  been  received  that 
Parades  is  about  taking  the  field  with  a  very  large  force.  Daily, 
volunteers  are  arriving  to  reenforce  us  and  soon  we  will  be  able 
to  meet  them  in  what  ever  force  they  choose  to  come.  What 
will  be  our  course  has  not  been  announced  in  orders,  but  no 
doubt  we  will  carry  the  war  into  the  interior. 

Monteray,  distance  about  300  miles  from  here,  will  no  doubt 
be  the  first  place  where  difficulties  with  an  enemy  await  us.  You 
want  to  know  what  my  feelings  were  on  the  field  of  battle!  I 
do  not  know  that  I  felt  any  peculiar  sensation.  War  seems 
much  less  terrible  to  persons  engaged  in  it  than  to  those  who 
read  of  the  battles. 

I  forgot  to  tell  you  in  the  proper  place  the  amount  of  property 
taken.  We  took  on  the  gth  eight  piece  of  Artillery  with  all  their 
ammunition  something  like  2000  stand  of  Arms,  Muskets,  pistols, 
Swords,  Sabres,  Lances  &c.,  500  mules  with  their  packs,  Camp 
equipage  &  provisions  and  in  fact  evry  thing  they  had.  When 
we  got  into  the  Camp  of  the  enemy  evry  thing  showed  the  great 
confidence  they  had  of  success.  They  were  actually  cooking 
their  meal  during  the  fight,  and  as  we  have  since  learned,  the 
women  of  Matamoras  were  making  prepartions  for  a  great  festi 
val  upon  the  return  of  their  victorious  Army.  —  The  people  of 
Mexico  are  a  very  different  race  of  people  from  ours. 

The  better  class  are  very  proud  and  tirinize  over  the  lower 
and  much  more  numerous  class  as  much  as  hard  master  does 
over  his  negroes  and  they  submit  to  it  quite  as  humbly.  The 
great  majority  inhabitants  are  either  pure  or  more  than  half 
blooded  Indians,  and  show  but  little  more  signs  of  neatness  or 
comfort  in  their  miserable  dwellings  than  the  uncivilized  Indian: 
—  Matamoras  contains  probably  about  7000  inhabitants,  a  great 
majority  of  the  lower  order.  It  is  not  a  place  of  as  much  busi 
ness  importance  as  our  little  towns  of  1000.  But  no  doubt  I 
will  have  an  opportunity  of  knowing  more  of  Mexico  and  the 


Mexicans  before  I  leave  the  country  and  I  will  take  another 
occation  of  telling  you  more  of  them. 

So  far  our  troops  have  had  their  health  remarkably  well. 

In  these  battles  Taylor's  men  were  armed  with  flint 
lock  muskets,  and  his  artillery  was  drawn  by  oxen !  The 
enemy  considerately  looked  on  while  he  gee-hawed  his 
iron  cannon  into  decent  array,  and  filled  them  up  with 
powder  and  such  shells  as  the  time  afforded.  The  whole 
action  had  a  touch  of  the  comic  in  the  midst  of  its  tragedy. 

The  poor  Mexicans  had  even  worse  muskets ;  bell- 
mouthed  Spanish  blunderbusses  and  spears  made  up  their 
most  dangerous  infantry  weapons.  They  had  in  addition, 
however,  a  few  brass  cannon,  throwing  feebly  and  hesitat 
ingly  some  solid  shot,  which  the  Americans  mainly  were 
able  to  dodge.  There  were  some  casualties  in  these  skir 
mishes,  but,  on  the  whole,  the  two  armies  managed  it 
very  well.  It  was  the  first  encounter  of  the  American 
arms  with  a  civilized  enemy  for  thirty  years,  and  seemed 
a  most  momentous  battle.  This  day  was  made  the  more 
memorable  to  Lieutenant  Grant  because  he  took  his  first 
command  in  the  field.  The  captain  of  his  company  being 
selected  for  special  duty,  Lieutenant  Grant  was  left  in  com 
mand  of  the  company — "  an  honor  and  responsibility  I 
thought  very  great." 

The  battles  of  Palo  Alto  and  Resaca  de  la  Palma  were 
hardly  more  than  skirmishes  in  the  light  of  the  more 
important  operations  soon  begun  against  Monterey. 
Matamoros  was  a  town  of  quite  unimportant  size,  while 
Monterey  was  a  city  of  great  renown,  the  most  important 
of  all  northern  Mexico  at  that  time.  Toward  this  for 
midable  outpost  General  Taylor  row  set  face. 



IN  August  the  army  began  to  move  up  >tb  the  Rio 
Grande,  which  runs  for  hundreds  of  miles  through  a  semi- 
arid  land  of  mesquit  and  cactus,  and  is  only  navigable  (in 
any  sense  of  the  word)  to  Camargo.  At  this  latitude  and 
altitude  February  is  warm  as  May,  and  the  heat  of  mid 
summer  is  terrific ;  therefore  the  forces  were  compelled  to 
march  at  night.  The  cavalry  and  artillery  took  their  way 
up  the  south  side  of  the  river, — that  is  to  say,  on  Mexican 
soil, — while  the  rest  of  the  command  went  by  means  of 
small  steamers.  These  steamers  were  of  the  kind  Lincoln 
described :  when  they  moved  they  could  n't  whistle,  and 
when  they  whistled  they  could  n't  move.  As  only  part 
of  the  command  could  ride,  the  officers  played  cards  to 
decide  who  should  walk. 

At  Camargo,  Grant,  now  full  second  lieutenant,  was 
made  regimental  quartermaster,  which  is  a  position  re 
quiring  activity,  resource,  and  regularity  of  habit  It  is 
an  important  position,  and  one  which  cannot  be  well  filled 
by  sleepy  or  dull-witted  men.  An  army  must  be  fed;  its 
supplies  must  not  go  dotray  nor  fall  behind ;  its  ammuni 
tion  must  be  ready  and  its  ambulances  on  hand.  And  to 
always  have  these  necessaries  of  an  army  in  readiness  is 
no  small  duty ;  it  means  early  rising,  methodical  habits, 
and  careful  scrutiny  of  details. 

This  appointment  seems  to  show  the  approval  of  his 
superiors  at  this  time.  A  picture  taken  on  this  campaign 
shows  him  to  have  been  a  slight,  boyish  figure,  with  rather 
long,  square-cut  hair  depending  from  a  gig-top  cap.  In 



spite  of  his  youth,  he  must  have  been  considered  a  trusty, 
energetic  man  of  good  administrative  ability.  His  duties 
he  himself  has  outlined:  "Each  day,  after  the  troops  had 
started,  the  tents  and  cooking-utensils  had  to  be  made 
into  packages,  so  that  they  could  be  lashed  to  the  backs 
of  the  mules.  Sheet-iron  kettles  and  mess-chests  were 
inconvenient  articles  to  transport  in  that  way.  It  took 
several  hours  to  get  ready  to  start  each  morning,  and  by 
the  time  we  were  ready  some  of  the  mules  first  loaded 
would  be  tired  of  standing  so  long  with  their  loads  on 
their  backs.  Sometimes  one  would  start  to  run,  bowing 
his  back  and  kicking  up  until  he  scattered  his  load ;  others 
would  lie  down  and  try  to  disarrange  their  loads  by  rolling 
on  them.  ...  I  am  not  aware  of  ever  having  used  a 
profane  expletive  in  my  life,  but  I  would  have  the  charity 
to  excuse  those  who  may  have  done  so,  if  they  were  in 
charge  of  a  train  of  Mexican  pack-mules  of  the  time." 

Nothing  shows  Grant's  equable  temper,  his  command 
over  himself,  like  serving  as  quartermaster  in  this  land  of 
burning  sun  and  scant  grass. 

He  could  tug  and  sweat  and  wrestle  with  a  camp  outfit 
each  day,  and  not  lose  his  temper.  His  men  found  him 
kind  and  patient ;  his  commanders  found  him  always  resource 
ful  and  prompt.  He  was  learning  many  lessons  of  practical 
warfare  during  these  laborious  marches. 

The  ground  from  Camargo  rises  by  broad  slopes  covered 
with  mesquit  and  other  low-growing  trees;  but  grass  is 
scanty  and  water  precious,  especially  in  September.  It 
was  so  hot  that  many  of  the  men  marched  in  their  under 
clothes.  Each  day  the  columns  began  to  move  before 
three  o'clock,  and  the  entire  march  for  the  day  was  made 
without  pause.  However,  as  they  rose  the  heat  lessened 
somewhat,  and  as  they  neared  the  mountains  the  water 
and  forage  grew  more  abundant.  In  spite  of  heat,  drought, 
and  scant  forage,  Grant  brought  his  command  through  in 
good  order. 

Monterey  was  the  principal  town  in  northern  Mexico 
at  that  time.  In  1846  it  possessed  fifteen  or  twenty  thou 
sand  people;  it  has  possibly  sixty  thousand  to-day.  In 
that  day  it  could  not  be  called  a  city  in  the  usual  sense 

76  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

of  the  word.  It  was,  in  fact,  a  fortified  town  of  Mexican 
Indians,  governed  by  a  few  Mexican- Spanish  priests  and 
soldiers.  It  had  not  four  houses  which  were  two  stories 
high,  except  the  church  and  the  "bishop's  palace."  Its 
plaza  was  merely  an  open,  unpaved  square,  surrounded 
by  low  adobe  or  soft  stone  buildings,  with  a  church  on 
the  southern  side,  and  a  small  fountain  in  the  center.  It 
was  built  of  a  soft  rock  which  abounds  in  the  hills  near 
by,  a  deposit  but  little  harder  than  clay,  which  the 
builders  cut  out  in  huge  blocks  and  laid  in  thick,  low 

The  people  were  a  mixture  of  several  tribes  of  Indians 
with  Spanish  pioneers,  and  were  a  small,  dark,  and  peace 
able  people,  not  given  to  war  with  men,  brave  to  war 
against  the  elements.  They  wore  heavy  conical  hats  of 
fur  or  palm,  and  carried  with  singular  charm  and  grace 
their  gay  serapes.  The  men  were  small,  round-limbed, 
and  unimposing,  but  capable  of  great  endurance.  The 
women  were  short  and  stout,  and  those  of  the  peon  class 
resembled  the  Comanche  women.  They  were  devoted  to 
the  Catholic  faith  as  they  understood  it,  and  had  in  this 
religion  their  strongest  emotion.  Patriotism  was  not  yet 
possible  to  them. 

They  had  founded  their  town  many  years  before,  there 
in  the  valley  of  the  San  Juan  de  Monterey.  It  is  a  mag 
nificent  spot,  a  wide,  flat  valley,  with  noble  mountains 
from  three  to  seven  thousand  feet  in  altitude  walling  it  in. 
To  the  west  is  the  main  range,  a  sierra-edged,  spectacular 
wall,  which  rises,  sharp-cut  as  cardboard,  seven  thousand 
feet  into  the  sky.  To  the  southeast  a  fine  peak  called  La 
Silla  ("  the  saddle ")  rises  five  thousand  feet  in  height. 
On  every  side  of  Monterey,  dark,  arid,  inaccessible  moun 
tains  stand,  except  on  the  northeast.  Taylor  approached 
from  the  east,  and  camped  about  three  miles  from  the 
city  at  a  fine  group  of  springs,  shaded  by  noble  pecan- 
and  walnut-trees. 

The  plain  before  the  city  was  quite  level,  and  covered 
with  mesquit  and  other  forms  of  chaparral.  Apparently 
nothing  hindered  marching  directly  upon  the  town.  Tay 
lor  soon  discovered,  however,  that  the  citizens  had  made 


careful  preparations  for  receiving  him.  Directly  to  the 
north  of  the  city  a  most  formidable  fortress,  built  of  a 
dark  stone, — not  adobe, — was  planted.  It  had  been  in 
tended  for  a  church,  but  was  finally  made  a  fortress  of 
great  strength,  with  massive  walls,  circled  by  a  ditch.  It 
was  heavily  manned,  and  to  attack  it  meant  loss  of  life. 

To  the  west,  and  guarding  the  Saltillo  road,  which  is 
the  main  highway  of  northern  Mexico  and  connects  the 
city  of  Monterey  with  Saltillo  and  San  Luis  Potosi,  stood 
an  imposing  structure  called  the  bishop's  palace.  This 
building,  begun  many  years  before  in  times  of  danger, 
had  heavy  walls  and  a  secret  underground  channel  of 
escape.  Behind  it,  and  commanding  both  the  Saltillo 
road  and  the  town,  were  planted  nearly  a  score  of  cannon. 

Across  the  highway,  on  a  hill  of  lesser  height,  was 
another  battery  to  defend  a  branch  of  the  Saltillo  road, 
while  to  the  south  and  east  were  other  cannon.  General 
Ampudia,  with  ten  or  eleven  thousand  men,  was  in  com 
mand.  To  judge  from  his  picture,  he  was  a  fine,  soldierly 
figure,  and  a  man  of  high  intelligence.  The  defenses  as 
planned  were  admirable,  and  the  American  army  seemed 
little  enough  for  such  a  siege  in  an  enemy's  country,  en 
tirely  cut  off  from  aid.  The  whole  campaign  would  have 
been  criminal  in  its  audacity  had  not  the  Texas  troops 
convinced  General  Taylor  of  the  unmilitary  character  of 
the  people. 

Quartermaster  Grant  now  waited  to  see  what  General 
Taylor,  who  had  already  become  his  hero,  would  do. 
Here  was  a  town  with  complete  defenses.  It  had  no 
weak  spot,  apparently.  How  would  Taylor  attack? 

He  resorted  to  the  familiar  and  primitive  method :  he 
prepared  to  flank  the  enemy.  He  sent  his  engineers  to 
the  west  to  see  if  there  were  not  a  way  to  dislodge  the 
enemy  at  the  bishop's  palace.  They  reported  that  the 
hill  upon  which  the  palace  stood  was  detached,  and  that 
it  could  be  stormed  from  the  southwest.  To  carry  the 
bishop's  palace  meant  complete  command  of  the  main 
artery  of  the  republic,  through  which  the  supplies  of  the 
city  had  mainly  to  come.  Also,  the  guns  of  the  fort 
could  be  turned  upon  other  forts,  and  upon  the  town  itself. 

78  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

On  the  morning  of  the  2Oth  General  Taylor  said  to 
General  Worth :  "  General,  take  your  division  and  make 
the  attempt  to  dislodge  the  enemy  to  the  north  and  east 
I  shall  consider  your  attack  the  main  movement." 

Lieutenant  Grant  remained  with  the  eastern  division 
of  the  army,  and  all  day  he  watched  with  eager  eyes  to 
see  the  inexorable  advance  of  the  Northern  army.  Guns 
were  run  forward  to  a  ravine  before  the  "  Black  Fort," 
and  planted  where  they  could  shell  the  enemy,  while 
reconnoitering  parties  were  out  to  the  east.  This  was 
indeed  war,  grand  and  terrible,  to  the  boy.  Taylor 
seemed  possessed  of  some  supernatural  power  as  he 
coolly  gave  orders  to  shell  the  town,  and  sent  men  to  the 
right  and  left,  and  pushed  his  columns  closer  and  closer 
to  the  town's  walls. 

As  regimental  quartermaster  Lieutenant  Grant  had  no 
business  to  leave  camp ;  but  the  excitement  grew  too 
great  for  his  young  blood,*  and  when  the  cannonading 
thickened,  he  mounted  a  horse  and  rode  to  the  front. 
He  reached  the  line  just  in  time  to  hear  the  order, 
"  Charge!  "  which  meant  death  to  many  brave  fellows. 
The  men  pushed  forward,  and  came  under  fire  of  the 
town.  As  they  drew  nearer  the  musketry  from  the  house 
tops  joined  the  din. 

The  little  quartermaster  was  with  the  charge,  and  was 
the  only  man  mounted,  and  therefore  a  special  target  for 
bullets ;  but  he  escaped  unhurt.  Colonel  Garland,  leading 
the  charge  on  the  Black  Fort,  exceeded  his  general's 
intentions,  and  the  Americans  suffered  great  loss.  At 
length  Colonel  Garland,  seeing  the  folly  of  a  direct  charge, 
"retreated  sidewise  "  to  the  east,  and  joined  the  division 
under  Taylor's  immediate  command,  which  was  vigorously 
assaulting  the  lower  end  of  the  city. 

Partly  encircling  the  town  on  the  west  and  east  there 
is  a  deep  ravine,  with  a  small  stream  flowing  during  cer 
tain  seasons  of  the  year.  Over  this  stream  there  were 

*  In  a  letter  to  his  folks  he  said :  "  I  do  not  mean  that  you  shall  ever  hear 
of  my  shirking  my  duty  in  battle.  My  new  post  of  quartermaster  is  con 
sidered  to  afford  an  officer  an  opportunity  to  be  relieved  from  fighting,  but  I 
do  not  and  cannot  see  it  in  that  light.  You  have  always  taught  me  that  the 
post  of  danger  is  the  post  of  duty." 


built  several  low  bridges.  A  few  houses  stood  outside 
these  bridges,  and  two  fortifications.  The  people  natu 
rally  retreated  across  the  stream,  but  their  soldiers  made 
a  stern  stand  there.  On  one  of  the  bridges  stood  a  statue 
of  the  Virgin,  and  there  the  Mexicans  fought  with  true 
battle  frenzy. 

An  Irish  captain  rushed  up  to  General  Taylor. 

"  General,  we  '11  never  clear  that  bridge  while  the  saint 
stands  there.  They  are  fighting  for  the  saint.  Shall  I 
smash  her  down,  general?" 

"  If  you  think  best,"  Taylor  replied. 

The  captain,  who  well  knew  the  power  of  the  saint, 
battered  down  the  pedestal,  and  tumbled  the  gilded  figure 
into  the  water  below.  When  the  Mexicans  saw  their 
saint  fall,  they  raised  a  hoarse  cry  of  rage,  and  made  one 
last  desperate  rush,  fighting  with  clubs,  spears,  and 
stones ;  then  retired  in  despair,  leaving  the  bridge  in  the 
hands  of  the  Northern  army.  Grant  was  in  the  thick  of 
the  charge,  still  on  his  horse.  The  city  was  not  yet  won, 

Every  housetop  was  manned  by  gunners  lying  behind 
low  parapets  of  sand-bags  or  blocks  of  adobe;  and  the 
Northern  men  paused,  after  crossing  the  bridge,  and 
scattered  out  into  the  side  streets.  Every  street  leading 
west  was  swept  by  guns  on  the  plaza,  or  by  the  muskets 
of  the  citizens  on  the  housetops.  Nevertheless,  ten  com 
panies,  under  command  of  Colonel  Garland,  forced  their 
way  by  successive  rushes  from  street  to  street  up  to  the 
very  last  barricade  of  the  plaza.  Quartermaster  Grant 
was  there  on  his  horse,  in  the  thick  of  the  punishment; 
but  his  head  was  clear,  his  faculties  at  their  best. 

The  command  could  neither  go  forward  nor  back,  and 
the  battle  hung  poised  till  Colonel  Garland  at  last  dis 
covered  his  ammunition  to  be  running  low.  It  then 
became  necessary  to  get  word  to  General  Twiggs,  his 
division  commander,  calling  for  ammunition  or  reinforce 
ments.  The  colonel  called  for  volunteers. 

"  Men,  I  've  got  to  send  some  one  back  to  General 
Twiggs.  It  's  a  dangerous  job,  and  I  don't  like  to  order 
any  man  to  do  it.  Who  '11  volunteer?  " 

80  LIFE   OF    GRANT 

"  I  will,"  said  Quartermaster  Grant,  promptly.  "  I  've 
got  a  horse." 

"  You  're  just  the  man  to  do  it.  Keep  on  the  side 
streets,  and  ride  hard." 

Grant  needed  no  direction,  for  he  was  among  the  best 
horsemen  in  the  entire  command,  and  had  been  instructed 
by  the  Comanches.  He  swung  himself  over  his  saddle, 
and,  with  one  heel  behind  the  cantle,  and  one  hand 
wound  in  his  horse's  mane,  dashed  at  full  gallop  down  a 
side  street  leading  to  the  north,  a  street  which  looked 
like  a  dry  canal.  At  every  crossing  he  was  exposed  to 
view,  and  the  enemy,  getting  his  range,  sent  a  slash  of 
bullets  after  him  as  he  flashed  past.  Hanging  thus,  he 
forced  his  horse  to  leap  a  four-foot  wall.  He  rode  to  the 
north  till  safely  out  of  fire ;  then,  regaining  his  seat,  he 
turned  to  the  east,  and  in  a  few  moments'  time  drew  rein 
before  General  Twiggs,  and  breathlessly  uttered  his 

Twiggs  gave  the  order  to  collect  the  ammunition,  but 
before  it  could  be  done  the  troops  came  pouring  back. 

That  night  ended  the  fighting ;  for  while  the  "  demon 
strations  "  at  the  east  ended  thus  unsuccessfully,  General 
Worth,  with  his  Texas  troops,  was  making  way  inexorably 
toward  the  plaza  from  the  west. 

The  houses  of  Monterey  are  all  built  on  the  street, 
with  the  yards  behind,  and  these  yards  are  separated 
from  each  other  by  walls  of  adobe.  Worth's  men,  accus 
tomed  to  these  Mexican  towns,  battered  down  the  doors, 
and  with  picks  and  axes  cut  through  these  soft  walls,  and, 
thus  under  cover,  advanced  steadily  from  house  to  house. 
The  army  ate  its  way,  like  some  huge  worm,  rod  by  rod, 
until  General  Ampudia  felt  the  prolongation  of  the  strug 
gle  to  be  useless,  and  on  the  morning  of  September  24, 
1846,  the  garrison  surrendered. 

The  people  of  Monterey  loved  their  city,  and  fought 
for  it  well,  even  desperately ;  but  they  had  no  adequate 
armament.  Many  were  armed  with  slings  and  spears. 
Their  guns  were  nearly  as  destructive  to  the  friend  be 
hind  as  to  the  enemy  in  front.  And  yet  they  held  at  bay 
one  of  the  most  daring  bands  of  fighters  ever  called 


together.  The  honors  were  not  all  on  the  side  of  the 
invading  army.  Grant  was  deeply  moved  at  the  sight 
of  the  Mexican  garrison  marching  out  of  town.  It  took 
away  the  last  vestige  of  joy  over  the  victory. 

During  the  day  of  rest  which  followed  he  ran  across 
several  old  West  Point  classmates,  and  two  old  George 
town  schoolmates,  Carr  B,  White  and  Chilton  A.  White, 
who  had  volunteered  a  few  months  before,  and  who  were 
very  glad  to  meet  him.  He  had  little  time  to  talk,  for 
he  was  very  busy  with  his  quartermaster  duties.  He 
was  up  bright  and  early,  and  almost  always  on  the  go. 

His  ride  for  ammunition  was  much  talked  of  among 
the  men,  and  everybody  praised  him.  He  was  a  young 
fellow  oi  good  habits  and  good  company.  It  was  all 
wonderful  business  to  the  young  men,  and  they  thought 
it  a  very  rare  outing — now  that  the  city  was  captured. 

"Though  behaving  with  such  gallantry,"  said  his  friend 
Longstreet,  "  Grant's  name  did  not  appear  in  the  reports. 
In  those  days  it  was  hard  for  a  young  officer  to  get  men 
tion  unless  he  did  something  of  very  conspicuous  bravery. 
After  a  man  got  to  be  captain  or  colonel  a  brevet  was 
more  easily  obtained.  They  were  sometimes  obtained 
for  merely  looking  at  a  battle." 



AFTER  the  taking  of  Monterey  there  was  a  pause  ot 
XJL  half  a  year  in  order  that  the  Democratic  adminis 
tration  might  take  thought  concerning  itself  and  the 
future.  It  was  a  sad  dilemma  for  President  Polk.  He 
must  go  to  war,  and  yet  war  advanced  the  fame  of  oppo 
sition  men.  The  added  slave  territory  must  be  had,  and 
yet  the  taking  of  it  was  likely  to  put  a  Whig  in  the  Presi 
dential  chair. 

The  victories  of  old  "  Rough  and  Ready  "  Taylor  were 
already  resounding  through  the  North.  The  taking  of 
"  the  city  of  Monterey,"  in  popular  conception,  was  a 
splendid  achievement.  In  the  imagination  of  the  Ameri 
cans  at  home,  it  was  a  city  of  castles,  with  turrets  and 
carved  battlements  and  shining  domes,  instead  of  an 
adobe  Indian  town  with  only  three  or  four  houses  above 
ten  feet  in  height.  "  The  victor  of  Monterey  and  of 
Matamoros"  was  rapidly  being  advanced  to  the  position 
of  popular  hero  and  Presidential  candidate,  and  the 
administration  determined  to  cripple  him,  if  possible.  It 
was  decided  at  length  to  discredit  his  line  of  attack,  and 
to  put  General  Winfield  Scott,  the  general-in-chief  of  the 
army,  into  the  field  in  person. 

This  also  had  its  dangers;  for  Scott,  like  all  well-fur 
nished  Americans,  believed  himself  capable  of  being 
President,  and  had  a  troublesome  "  knack  of  success  "  in 
a  campaign.  However,  there  was  no  help  for  it;  there 
were  no  Democratic  generals  handy.  In  such  way  are 



the  affairs  of  a  great  nation  run;  yet  it  ambles  forward, 
awkward,  undecided,  irresistible. 

General  Winfield  Scott  was  an  old  man  of  huge  physi 
cal  proportions  and  prodigious  vanity,  but  a  good  soldier 
and  a  just  man.  He  was  called  "  Old  Fuss  and  Feathers," 
and  was  very  widely  different  in  all  ways  from  General 
Taylor,  except  in  the  soldierly  quality;  both  were  ex 
cellent  commanders. 

To  Lieutenant  Grant  General  Scott  was  a  very  won 
derful  person,  and  occupied  one  of  the  most  exalted  posi 
tions  on  earth,  and  might  be  forgiven  for  being  conscious 
of  his  glory.  Not  only  was  he  the  chief  commander  of 
the  army  of  the  United  States,  but  he  was  already  a 
storied  hero.  He  had  led  the  army  to  victory  at  Chip- 
pewa  and  at  Lundy's  Lane  in  1812.  He  was  the  author 
of  "  A  System  of  General  Military  Regulations  for  the 
Army."  He  had  been  a  great  figure  in  the  Black  Hawk 
War,  and  the  commander-in-chief  in  the  Seminole  War. 
He  had  been  a  personage  present,  at  least  in  name,  at 
every  Fourth  of  July  celebration  in  every  Northern  vil 
lage,  and  he  had  been  a  resplendent  figure  at  reviews  at 
West  Point.  No  wonder  the  boy  lieutenant  looked  for 
ward  with  keenest  interest  to  the  arrival  of  General  Scott 
in  Mexico.  •  *'.:>) 

Scott's  plan  of  campaign  was  necessarily  at  variance 
with  Taylor's.  He  had  all  along  insisted  that  Mexico 
City  should  be  attacked  directly  from  the  East,  with 
Vera  Cruz  as  a  landing-point ;  and  thitherward  he  promptly 
pushed  his  way,  with  reinforcements.  He  also  called 
from  General  Taylor  nearly  all  of  his  regular  troops, 
leaving  him  only  the  volunteers,  for  which  the  old  West- 
Pointer  had  a  very  carelessly  concealed  contempt.  Lieu 
tenant  Grant  was  transferred,  with  his  regiment,  from 
General  David  Twiggs,  under  Taylor's  command,  to  the 
division  of  General  William  Worth,  under  Scott.  He 
therefore  retraced  the  severe  journey  to  Camargo  and  to 
Matamoros,  thence  by  uncomfortable,  much  overloaded 
transports  to  Vera  Cruz,  where  Scott  was  assembling  his 
little  army  of  invasion,  like  Cortez  of  the  sixteenth  cen 

84  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

The  seaport  of  Vera  Cruz,  lying  nearly  due  east  of  the 
city  of  Mexico,  was  an  old  town,  built  then,  as  now,  of 
stone  and  adobe,  in  the  one-storied,  Spanish  fashion,  and, 
excepting  its  several  superb  churches,  it  was  made  up  of 
flat-roofed,  unimposing  buildings.  It  is  a  place  of  tropical 
heat  and  of  extreme  humidity.  Set  as  it  is  almost  under 
the  burning  sun,  on  the  shore  of  a  tepid  sea,  with  bad 
drainage  and  inefficient  government,  it  is  not  a  desirable 
place  for  a  Northern  man  to  land  in  during  the  month  of 
May  or  June.  The  heat  is  like  that  of  a  steaming  blanket. 
Night  brings  little  relief.  In  the  humid  air  everything 
ferments,  rots,  sends  up  poisonous  gases,  whereas  in  the 
dry  climate  of  the  interior  refuse  soon  becomes  dust,  and 
is  odorless.  The  very  soil  was  full  of  germs  of  disease. 
Yet  it  was,  and  is,  the  main  port  of  entry  for  Mexico 

Some  three  miles  to  the  south  of  the  city  is  a  small, 
low-lying  island  called  Sacrificios  Island,  because,  so 
tradition  runs,  the  people  in  olden  times  were  annually 
accustomed  thereon  to  sacrifice  their  young  men  and 
maidens  to  appease  the  gods.  On  this  island  Scott  made 
landing  in  all  military  pomp,  with  bands  playing  "  Yankee 
Doodle,"  and  the  French,  Spanish,  and  English  looking 
on  from  their  vessels.  The  site  of  Vera  Cruz  is  a  sand 
beach,  but  back  of  it,  in  a  half-circle,  runs  a  series  of  low 
hills.  On  these  hills  Scott  encamped  and  planted  his 
siege-guns.  Quartermaster  Grant  is  said  to  have  per 
sonally  supervised  this  siege,  in  pursuance  of  his  policy 
to  see  all  that  went  on. 

It  was  all  a  battle  of  cannons,  and  the  infantry  had 
little  to  do  but  swelter  on  the  sand  and  fight  flies  and 
fleas.  The  city  soon  capitulated,  and  Scott,  aware  of  the 
danger  to  his  men  of  longer  stay  in  this  land  of  yellow 
fever,  marched,  in  imposing  review,  in  at  the  south  gate 
and  out  at  the  north  gate,  and  started  for  Jalapa,  the  next 
considerable  town  on  the  main  highway  to  Mexico  City. 

There  was  a  certain  sublimity  of  audacity  in  the  un 
hesitating  march  of  that  little  army  of  ten  thousand  into 
an  unknown  country,  against  a  nation  of  seven  millions 
of  people,  and  over  gigantic  mountain-ranges.  Cortez 


marched,  moved  by  dreams  of  gold,  of  splendor,  of  con 
quest.  Scott's  army  trudged  mountainward,  moved  by  a 
sort  of  national  bravado,  or,  like  Grant,  because,  being 
soldiers,  their  duty  was  to  follow  where  their  superiors 
led.  In  a  letter  to  a  friend  Grant  said :  "  I  am  heartily 
tired  of  the  whole  war."  Its  essential  injustice  oppressed 

For  the  first  few  days  the  heat  was  excessive;  the 
woods  were  full  of  poisonous  plants  and  noxious  insects ; 
and  Grant,  again  regimental  quartermaster,  had  plenty  to 
occupy  himself  with.  He  was  a  keen  observer  of  all  that 
went  on.  He  had  an  eye  to  the  beauty  of  the  palms. 
He  counted  nearly  two  hundred  kinds  of  birds.  Several 
of  his  comrades  speak  of  his  habit  of  looking  at  things. 
His  letters  home  are  filled  with  details. 

The  soil  is  at  first  covered  with  prickly-pear  cactus  and 
sparse  grass.  A  little  farther  on  the  road  enters  low 
foot-hills  covered  with  a  wild  tangle  of  strange  plants  and 
trees.  Half-naked  charcoal-burners  and  herders  inhabit 
this  level.  A  little  higher  are  upland  plains,  with  better 
grass — a  land  quite  like  the  prairie  of  Texas.  These  in 
turn  are  left  behind,  and  low  hills  appear.  The  vegetation 
thickens.  Palms  of  various  sorts  rise  against  the  sky  like 
vast  plumes.  The  people  live  in  thatched  huts,  with  walls 
of  cane  or  stakes  set  close  together.  The  trees  are  over 
loaded  with  parasites,  and  all  sorts  of  strange  and  beauti 
ful  flowers  blaze  like  crimson  and  yellow  stars  in  the  deep 
green  foliage.  The  giant  mountains  to  the  west  are 
completely  hidden  by  the  forest  of  the  foot-hills. 

Just  on  the  edge  of  the  first  considerable  heights  the 
leading  division  encountered  the  enemy  in  force.  Upon 
a  sugar-loaf  hill  which  rose  beside  the  road  Santa  Ana 
had  erected  fortifications,  and  was  present  in  person  with 
about  fifteen  thousand  men.  The  story  of  his  march  to 
Cerro  Gordo  is  incredible.  A  courier  some  weeks  before 
had  fallen  into  the  hands  of  the  Mexicans,  bearing  upon 
his  person  the  valuable  information  that  Scott  had  weak 
ened  Taylor  on  the  north  to  make  an  attack  by  way  of 
Vera  Cruz,  and  that  Taylor  had  only  a  small  force  of 

86  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

With  this  knowledge  General  Santa  Ana  conceived 
the  tremendous  plan  of  beating  the  two  invading  armies 
in  detail.  This  involved  a  march  of  at  least  a  thousand 
miles  (four  hundred  and  six  leagues,  the  Mexicans  say) 
in  a  land  of  ever-burning  sunlight  and  scanty  vegetation, 
and  over  almost  waterless  wastes.  The  line  of  march  led 
from  Mexico  City  to  Saltillo  over  the  inland  plateau,  which 
is  like  the  plains  of  Arizona,  thence  back  to  Cerro  Gordo. 
No  American  army  could  have  made  that  journey  in  the 
same  time.  No  one  who  has  not  passed  over  this  burning 
waste,  where  the  dust  columns  weirdly  waltz,  and  the 
shadowless  heavens  blaze  with  heat,  can  realize  it.  To 
ride  it  on  horseback  is  courageous ;  to  double-quick  it  as 
these  poor  peon  soldiers  did  was  heroic.  Santa  Ana 
rode  in  a  carriage,  his  officers  on  horses.  The  peons 
trotted,  parched  and  burning  by  day,  chilled  to  the  heart 
at  night,  thirsty,  hungry,  and  with  bleeding  feet.  They 
met  Taylor  at  Buena  Vista  on  an  open  plain  cut  with 
arroyos,  or  deep  ditch-like  ravines,  with  high  cactus-cov 
ered  hills  on  either  hand.  Santa  Ana,  with  superb  confi 
dence,  gave  Taylor  an  hour  in  which  to  surrender.  The 
stern  old  soldier  replied,  in  effect,  that  all  eternity  was 
long  enough  for  them  to  surrender  in,  and  the  fight 
began.  The  Mexicans  were  defeated  crushingly.  But 
Santa  Ana  turned  and  hastened  south  at  such  pace  Taylor 
could  not  follow;  for  these  dark  little  men,  with  their 
limber,  slender  legs,  are  marvelous  of  foot ;  they  can  trot 
all  day  in  a  sun  whose  heat  would  melt  a  Northern  man's 
brains  to  jelly. 

As  he  went  the  desperate  commander  relentlessly  im 
pressed  new  troops,  drilling  them  at  night  and  before 
daybreak,  and  so  arrived  at  Cerro  Gordo  with  an  army 
of  fifteen  thousand  fairly  well-disciplined  men.  It  was  a 
marvelous  achievement,  and  let  the  whole  honor  be  to 
the  tireless  little  Mexicans,  who  knew  not  what  they 
were  fighting  for,  and  had  small  stake  even  in  victory. 

Santa  Ana,  therefore,  with  batteries  on  either  side  of 
the  road  where  it  enters  the  foot-hills,  was  waiting  for 
Scott.  His  troops  were  worn,  ragged,  dusty,  but  they 
were  an  army  capable  of  fight. 


Scott,  who  had  remained  at  Cerro  Gordo  to  see  the 
last  arrangements  made,  hastened  up,  and  with  his  engi 
neering  corps  (which  included  George  B.  McClellan  and 
Robert  E.  Lee)  began  his  reconnoitering.  It  did  not 
take  them  long  to  arrange  a  flank  movement.  On  the 
night  of  the  1 7th,  through  roads  cut  round  the  mountains, 
the  men  dragged  howitzers  by  hand,  hilariously  as  if  on  a 
frolic,  but  so  silently  that  Santa  Ana's  men  slept  undis 
turbed.  Santa  Ana  afterward  said  he  did  n't  think  a 
goat  could  have  approached  from  that  quarter.  The 
ground  was  rough,  and  in  some  places  so  steep  the  guns 
were  hoisted  by  means  of  ropes ;  but  in  early  morning 
the  invading  army  fell  upon  the  Mexican  reserve  forces  in 
the  rear  of  the  forts. 

In  a  letter  dated  "  Tiping  Ahualco,  Mexico,  May  3, 
1847,"  Lieutenant  Grant  graphically  and  clearly  sets  forth 
the  battle.  His  spelling  could  not  conceal  the  clearness  of 
his  story. 

On  the  night  of  the  15th  Gen.  Worth  arrived  at  Plana  del 
Rio  three  miles  from  the  Battle  ground.  Gen.  Twiggs  with  his 
Division  had  been  there  several  days  preparing  for  an  attack. 
By  the  morning  of  the  i  yth  the  way  was  completed  to  go  around 
the  Pass,  Cierra  Gorda,  and  make  the  attach  in  the  rear  as  well 
as  in  the  front.  The  difficulties  to  surmount  made  the  under 
taking  almost  equal  to  Bonaparte's  Crossing  the  Alps.  Cierra 
Gorda  is  a  long  Narrow  Pass,  the  Mountains  towering  far  above 
the  road  on  either  side.  Some  five  of  the  peaks  were  fortified 
and  armed  with  Artillery  and  Infantry. 

At  the  outlett  of  the  Mountain  Gorge  a  strong  Breastwork 
was  thrown  up  and  5  pieces  placed  in  embrasure  sweaping  the 
road  so  that  it  would  have  been  impossible  for  any  force  in  the 
world  to  have  advanced.  Immediately  behind  this  is  a  peak  of 
the  Mountains  several  hundred  feet  higher  than  any  of  the  others 
and  commanding  them.  It  was  on  this  hight  that  Gen.  Twiggs 
made  his  attack.  As  soon  as  the  Mexicans  saw  this  hight  taken 
they  knew  the  day  was  up  with  them.  Santa  Anna  Vamoused 
with  a  small  part  of  his  force  leaving  about  6000  to  be  taken 
prisoners  with  all  their  arms  supplies  &c.  Santa  Anna's  loss 
could  not  have  been  less  than  8000  killed,  wounded,  taken 
prisoners  and  misen.  The  pursuit  was  so  close  upon  the  retreat 
ing  few  that  Santa  Anna's  Carriage  and  Mules  were  taken  and 

88  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

with  them  his  wooden  leg  and  some  20  or  30  thousand  dollars 
in  money. 

Between  the  thrashing  the  Mexicans  have  got  at  Vuene  Vista, 
Vera  Cruz  and  Ceirra  Gorda  they  are  so  completely  broken  up 
that  if  we  only  had  transportation  we  could  go  to  the  City  of 
Mexica  and  where  ever  else  we  liked  without  resistance.  Gar 
risons  could  be  established  in  all  the  important  towns  and  the 
Mexicans  prevented  from  ever  raising  another  Army.  Santa 
Anna  is  said  to  be  at  Orazaba  at  the  foot  of  a  mountain  always 
covered  with  snow  and  of  the  same  name.  He  has  but  a  small 

Orazaba  looks  from  here  as  if  you  could  almost  throw  a  stone 
to  it  but  it  looked  the  same  from  lalapa  some  fifty  miles  back 
and  was  even  visable  from  Vera  Cruz.  Since  we  left  the  Sea 
Coast  the  improvement  in  the  appearance  of  the  people  and  the 
stile  of  building  has  been  very  visable  over  anything  I  had  seen 
in  Mexico  before.  The  road  is  one  of  the  best  in  the  world. 
The  scenery  is  beautiful  and  a  great  deal  of  magnificent  table 
land  spreads  out  above  you  and  below  you.  lalapa  is  the  most 
beautiful  place  that  I  ever  saw.  It  is  about  4000  feet  above  Sea 
and  being  in  the  Torrid  Zone,  they  have  the  everlasting  Spring 
Fruit  and  vegitables  the  year  around.  I  saw  there  a  great  many 
handsome  ladies  and  more  well  dressed  men  than  I  had  ever  seen 
before  in  the  Republic.  From  lalapa  we  marched  to  Perote  and 
walked  quietly  into  the  Strong  Castle  that  you  no  doubt  have 
read  about.  It  is  a  great  work.  One  Brigade,  the  one  I  belong 
to  is  now  20  miles  in  advance  of  Perote.  Soon  no  doubt  we 
will  advance  upon  Pueblo. 

Grant  was  instructed  in  other  ways  by  the  battle  of 
Cerro  Gordo.  The  prisoners  were  paroled  at  once,  and 
their  arms  thrown  into  piles  and  burned,  a  proceeding 
not  lost  on  Quartermaster  Grant.  Santa  Ana  escaped 
with  about  seven  thousand  men,  and  retreated  rapidly  to 
Mexico  City,  where  he  hastily  prepared  to  make  his  last 
stand.  The  Northern  army  pushed  directly  toward  the 
heart  of  the  nation,  halting  next  at  Jalapa  for  rest  and 
food.  The  battle  of  Cerro  Gordo,  like  the  battle  of  Bueno 
Vista  on  the  north,  opened  the  way  to  the  capital.  The 
army  of  victory  moved  on  some  twelve  or  fifteen  miles  to 
Jalapa,  one  of  the  most  beautiful  towns  in  all  Mexico. 


Here  the  troops  lay  for  some  weeks,  getting  much 
needed  rest  and  food.  Jalapa  is  some  forty-five  hundred 
feet  above  the  sea,  and  has  abundant  water,  pure  air,  and 
an  equable  climate.  The  surroundings  of  hill  and  pasture 
and  stone  wall  are  curiously  like  the  New  England  hiH- 
country,  with  greater  vegetation  and  higher  mountains  in 
vista.  The  people  of  Jalapa  are  red-brown  of  color,  and 
a  fine,  well-formed  race.  They  were  decidedly  friendly 
in  a  few  days — as  soon,  in  fact,  as  they  perceived  the 
good  discipline  of  the  army. 

General  Scott  carried  wise  government  with  him.  He 
abolished  the  labor  tax  which  was  levied  by  the  city  of 
Jalapa  on  farmers  bringing  goods  to  sell  in  the  streets, 
and  in  other  matters  ruled  like  a  wise  and  humane  man. 
His  was  a  large  and  liberal  mind,  and  while  he  loved  to 
impress  people  with  his  importance  and  position,  he  was 
a  dispassionate  and  just  conqueror.  He  aimed  to  make 
the  conquered  people  his  friends ;  and  unquestionably  his 
good  discipline  and  his  wise  regulations  of  traffic  did 
much  to  keep  down  insurrection  in  the  cities  he  was 
forced  to  garrison  lightly  and  leave  behind.  The  small 
lieutenant  had  his  keen  eyes  open  to  all  this  also.  The 
soldiers  of  the  American  army  were  not  exactly  Christian 
gentlemen,  if  the  tales  of  their  lust  and  greed  which  the 
natives  of  Mexico  still  tell  are  true.  Taylor's  volunteers 
were  so  notorious  as  outragers  of  women  that  Scott  issued 
a  special  order  to  stop  murder  and  rapine. 

While  the  army  needed  rest,  it  was  also  desirable  to 
follow  the  retreating  Mexican  forces  as  soon  as  possible, 
to  prevent  reinforcements  and  fortifications  on  the  great 
highway  from  Jalapa  to  the  Central  Valley.  General 
Worth  was  sent  forward  to  Perote,  where  a  strong  castle 
was  said  to  be  situated,  with  orders  to  siege  and  hold  it 
till  the  main  army  came  up. 

The  road  from  Jalapa  climbs,  within  a  few  miles,  two 
thousand  feet,  and  comes  at  last  upon  a  high,  wide  valley 
plain,  semi-arid,  yet  highly  cultivated.  Just  at  the  point 
where  the  plateau  ends  and  the  descent  to  the  "  warm 
country  "  begins  was  a  little  flat,  mud-walled  town,  with 

90  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

a  low,  strong-walled,  four-square  building  of  stone  stand 
ing  near,  with  watch-towers  at  the  corners,  and  a  building 
occupying  the  inclosed  yard.  This  was  El  Castillo  de 
Perote.  It  was  capable  of  great  resistance ;  but  the  heart 
of  battle  was  gone  out  of  these  naturally  peaceful  people, 
and  they  surrendered  at  once,  leaving  the  road  open  to 
the  city  of  Puebla. 



ACROSS  the  level,  dusty  plain  covered  with  hedges  of 
Jr\.  the  pulque  plant,  and  sown  to  grain  and  planted 
with  sugar-cane,  the  army  marched,  with  eyes  on  myste 
rious  mountains,  and  tongues  tasting  strange  fruits  and 
foods.  It  was  a  re-reading  of  the  history  of  Cortez,  to 
men  like  Grant.  This  land  was  old — old,  almost,  as 
Egypt.  Its  soil  was  mellow  with  a  thousand  plowings 
and  soaked  with  a  million  suns.  On  every  side  the  quick- 
moving  small  men  and  brown  women,  in  cool  garments, 
trod  behind  patient  mules,  or  in  files,  carrying  on  their 
backs  crates  of  fowls,  bags  of  grain,  or  bottles  of  water. 
Grant  saw  it  all — the  birds,  the  cattle,  the  flowers.  In  a 
letter  written  to  his  parents  in  May  he  alludes  to  his 
duties  and  to  his  pleasures: 

My  dear  parents:  We  are  progressing  steadily  toward  the 
Mexican  capital.  Since  I  last  wrote  you  my  position  has  been 
rendered  more  responsible  and  laborious.  .  .  .  But  I  must  not 
talk  to  you  all  the  time  about  the  War.  I  shall  try  to  give  you 
a  few  descriptions  of  what  I  see  in  this  country.  It  has  in  it 
many  wonderful  things.  .  .  .  It  is  very  mountainous.  Its 
hillsides  are  covered  with  tall  palms  whose  waving  leaves  present 
a  splendid  appearance.  They  toss  to  and  fro  in  the  wind  like 
plumes  in  a  helmet,  their  deep  green  glistening  in  the  sunshine  or 
glittering  in  the  moon  beams  in  the  most  beautiful  way.  I  have 
been  much  delighted  with  the  Mexican  birds.  .  .  .  Many  have 
a  plumage  that  is  superlatively  splendid  but  the  display  of  their 
music  does  not  equal  that  of  their  colors.  .  .  .  They  beat  ours 
in  show  but  do  not  equal  them  in  harmony. 

But  I  hear  the  "  taps  "  as  I  write  and  must  be  on  the  move. 


92  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

I  have  written  this  letter  with  my  sword  fastened  on  my  side  and 
my  pistol  within  reach,  not  knowing  but  that  the  next  moment  I 
may  be  called  into  battle  again. 

It  was  all  unreal  as  a  picture  of  Mesopotamia.  What 
lay  beyond  ?  This  was  but  the  portal  of  the  storied  nation  ; 
the  great  and  famous  city  of  Mexico  was  still  in  the  dis 
tance.  When  they  thought  of  what  they  had  risked  in 
venturing  thus  into  a  populous  unknown  land,  the  men  of 
the  small  army  wished  themselves  at  home. 

The  American  general  was  apparently  in  desperate 
straits.  The  Whigs  and  Democrats  were  struggling  to 
seize  and  hold  all  the  advantages  of  the  victories  he  had 
won.  About  four  thousand  of  his  men  were  nearing  the 
end  of  their  enlistment.  In  order  to  allow  them  to  return 
'through  Vera  Cruz  before  the  worst  of  the  season  set  in, 
Scott  very  generously  discharged  them  at  once  and  sent 
them  home.  This  reduced  his  force  in  the  field  to  about 
five  thousand  men.  He  was  not  only  unable  to  maintain 
a  suitable  garrison,  but  unable  to  hold  to  his  depot  of  sup 
plies.  Thus  with  five  thousand  men  he  cut  loose  from 
his  base  of  munitions,  and  marched  against  a  city  of  two 
hundred  thousand  inhabitants  in  a  nation  of  several  million 
people.  Certainly  this  was  bravery,  if  not  foolhardiness. 
He  felt,  as  did  all  his  men,  no  doubt,  the  manifest  destiny 
of  the  American  States  behind  him.  Certainly  he  knew 
that  the  President  was  his  enemy. 

Nothing  was  lost  upon  the  small  lieutenant  wrestling 
with  the  mules  in  the  wagon-train.  He  understood 
Scott's  bravery.  He  mused  deeply  upon  this  cutting 
loose  from  all  supplies.  He  aided  in  living  off  the  enemy, 
and  he  came  to  believe  also  in  the  manifest  destiny  of  the 
American  republic.  A  very  inconsiderable  but  valuable 
man  was  this  lieutenant  busily  bringing  the  wagon-train 
forward,  and  growing  a  red  beard  meanwhile  to  appear 
less  youthful.  He  was  also  acquiring  the  use  of  whisky 
and  tobacco.  Elsewise  his  habits  were  of  the  best,  and 
his  tongue  was  still  unused  to  foul  and  profane  words. 
He  was  being  educated  in  the  rough  school  of  war,  and 
educated  in  the  way  which  is  lasting  and  deep-laid. 


Puebla  fell  into  the  invaders'  hands  without  resistance. 
It  was  a  fine  city — the  finest  in  the  nation,  excepting  only 
the  capital.  It  had  superb  cathedrals  and  convents  with 
magnificent  gardens.  It  had  irrigating-ditches,  and  was 
surrounded  by  well-tilled  fields  of  grain  and  maguey 
plants.  In  the  really  splendid  plaza  the  invaders  stacked 
arms,  and  looked  about  them  with  astonishment  that  such 
a  city  should  so  easily  yield  to  assault.  Directly  before 
it,  and  separating  it  from  the  valley  and  city  of  Mexico,  is 
the  mightiest  range  of  mountains  on  the  American  conti 
nent.  Popocatepetl  is  17,800  feet  in  height,  and  Iztacci- 
huatl,  slightly  lower,  lifts  a  snowy  turban  into  the  sky  a 
little  farther  to  the  north.  These  peaks  are  covered  with 
perennial  snow.  Over  this  chain  of  mountains  the  direct 
road  to  Mexico  ran,  and  thence  Scott  directed  his  engineers. 

At  this  point  two  most  grateful  events  occurred :  re 
inforcements  sent  by  a  reluctant  Congress  came  in  (on 
the  1st  of  August),  and  the  army  was  swelled  to  an 
attacking  force  of  ten  thousand  men ;  and,  of  almost 
equal  importance,  two  men,  long  residents  of  the  city  of 
Mexico,  came  in  and  offered  their  services  as  guides. 
Their  names  were  James  Wright  and  Jonathan  Fitzwaters. 
They  had  been  hid  away  in  the  city,  but  as  the  American 
army  approached  they  escaped  and  succeeded  in  reaching 
Puebla  unhurt. 

An  army  without  guides  is  like  an  animal  without  eyes. 
These  men  supplied  the  advancing  columns  with  informa 
tion  of  vital  value.  The  plans  of  Santa  Ana,  his  forts,  his 
forces,  were  now  known,  and  Scott  and  his  engineers  set 
to  work  upon  the  attack  like  men  playing  a  game  of  chess. 

The  Mexicans  have  a  proverb,  "  Puebla  is  the  first 
heaven,  Mexico  is  the  second."  The  city  of  Mexico  lies  in 
a  wide,  flat  valley,  at  an  altitude  of  seven  thousand  feet 
above  the  sea.  It  is  semi-arid  and  semi-tropic  in  char 
acter,  with  a  rainy  season  which  begins  in  July  or  August, 
and  lasts  for  several  weeks.  During  this  time  water  is 
abundant,  and  the  somber  brown  fields  and  hot  slopes  of 
withered  grass  awake  to  a  vivid  and  gracious  green. 
Vegetation  of  all  kinds  grows  with  magical  swiftness. 
Water  pours  down  from  the  mountains  to  the  west, 

94  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

among  whose  tops  the  clouds  gather  and  burst  almost 
every  midday.  Every  reservoir  fills  up,  and  the  city  is 
threatened  with  inundation.  At  such  times  the  three 
lake-beds  Tezcuco,  Chalco,  and  Zochmilcho  become  shin 
ing  expanses  in  the  vivid  green  of  the  valley  floor. 

On  the  shores  of  these  lakes,  and  set  in  the  fields  of 
maguey  and  wheat  and  cane,  are  small  Indian  villages  of 
low  adobe  walls,  each  village  having  one  beautiful  struc 
ture,  its  church,  with  chime  of  bells,  tiled  dome,  and  grace 
ful  tower.  In  the  city  of  Mexico  itself  there  are  scores 
of  noble  churches. 

It  was  in  August  during  the  rainy  season  when  Scott's 
army  looked  down  upon  the  beautiful  valley,  with  its 
lakes  shining  like  pools  of  melted  silver,  and  its  green 
everywhere  meshed  with  streams  of  mountain  water.  It 
was  a  beautiful  sight,  and  the  men  raised  a  cheer  as  they 
topped  the  divide.  It  was  all  that  imagination  or  poetry 
had  pictured  it,  and  some  of  the  more  thoughtful  experi 
enced  a  feeling  of  awe  as  they  fell  into  line  down  that 
western  slope  to  capture  this  great  city  of  such  age  and 
power  and  wealth. 

On  the  shore  of  Lake  Chalco,  at  a  little  Indian  village 
called  Ayotla,  Scott  collected  his  army,  and  began  to 
reconnoiter.  His  guides  explained  to  him  that  there  were 
eight  gates  to  the  city.  The  city  was  surrounded  by 
dikes  and  ditches  to  turn  aside  the  mountain  water  during 
the  rainy  season.  At  certain  points  in  these  dikes  were 
bridges  and  gates  defended  by  fortifications.  Directly  in 
front  was  the  ancient  thoroughfare  between  Lake  Chalco 
and  Lake  Zochmilcho.  To  the  right  was  a  road  passing 
between  Chalco  and  Tezcuco,  defended  by  a  high,  abrupt 
mound  called  El  Penon.  The  other  gates  were  to  the 
west  and  north,  and  Scott,  after  the  report  of  his  engi 
neers  and  guides,  decided  to  move  round  the  lakes  Chalco 
and  Zochmilcho,  and  attack  the  city  in  the  rear.  A  bad 
roadway  circled  the  lake  close  to  the  mountains  on  the 
southeast,  and  along  this  causeway  the  army  filed,  and 
on  the  1 8th  of  August  entered  Tlalpan,  a  little  Indian 
town  situated  on  the  edge  of  the  rising  ground,  about  ten 
miles  south  of  the  city  of  Mexico, 


To  the  west  of  Tlalpan  lies  a  vast  overflow  of  lava 
called  El  Pedregale.  It  evidently  came  from  a  crater 
some  miles  southwest  of  Tlalpan,  and  ran  in  a  prodigious 
slow  stream  to  the  north.  As  it  cooled  it  cracked  and 
broke  into  orderless  and  savage  masses  of  sharp  rock, 
black  and  porous.  In  this  desolate  mass,  and  adding  to 
its  ferocious  appearance,  cactus  plants  had  fastened,  in 
company  with  other  gaunt,  stunted  forms  of  vegetation 
unfamiliar  to  a  Northern  man.  It  was  popularly  believed 
by  the  Mexicans  to  be  impassable. 

This  mass  of  rock,  heaped  and  seamed  and  blasted, 
runs  irregularly  northward,  separating  the  village  of  Con- 
treras  from  Tlalpan,  and  the  haciendas  (estates)  called 
San  Antonio  and  Coapa  from  San  Angel  and  Tacubaya. 
A  roadway  skirts  this  rock  from  Tlalpan  to  Churubusco, 
and  on  this  road,  at  San  Antonio  and  Churubusco,  were 
garrisons  and  cannon. 

Scott  again  determined  to  flank  these  positions.  His 
engineers  found  a  way,  without  great  difficulty,  across 
El  Pedregale,  and  the  Americans  fell  upon  Contreras 
on  the  morning  of  the  2Oth  of  August.  The  assault 
made  in  the  early  light  had  all  the  appalling  elements  of 
a  surprise  in  battle.  It  was  a  matter  of  not  more  than 
ten  or  fifteen  minutes,  but  it  took  the  fighting  heart  out 
of  the  Mexican  army. 

Men  and  officers  alike  were  amazed  and  terrified  by 
the  power  and  the  ferocity  of  these  Northern  men.  Va 
lencia's  army  broke  into  flight,  and  streamed  back  into 
the  city,  bellowing  as  they  ran :  "  Here  come  the  Yan 
kees!  Here  come  the  Yankees!" 

Lieutenant  Grant  was  with  Colonel  Garland's  division, 
which  was  meanwhile  confronting  the  hacienda  San 
Antonio;  but  when  Contreras  was  taken,  San  Antonio 
was  evacuated,  and  the  two  armies  advanced  on  the  two 
parallel  roads  which  skirt  El  Pedregale  and  lead  directly 
toward  Mexico.  The  next  stronghold  which  presented  a 
most  formidable  point  was  the  church  and  convent  in  the 
little  village  of  Churubusco,  which  stands  on  the  level 
plain  surrounded  by  tilled  fields  marked  out  by  ditches. 

In  this  land  every  cabin  has  the  wall  of  a  fortress,  and 

96  LIFE   OF    GRANT 

every  church  is  a  castle.  Churubusco  was  a  low  church 
with  a  noticeably  high  wall,  having  but  two  entrances,  a 
side  gate  to  the  south,  with  the  main  entrance  to  the 
west.  Before  it  all  huts  had  been  leveled  and  breast 
works  constructed  at  a  few  rods  from  the  wall.  It  looked 
unassailable;  but  at  the  word,  the  Northern  soldiers 
started  across  the  open  field,  impetuous,  unwavering  as  so 
many  bulldogs.  They  went  over  the  earthworks,  silenced 
the  cannon,  raised  ladders  against  the  wall,  and  in  an 
incredibly  short  time  sent  the  stars  and  stripes,  like  a 
crimson  flower,  soaring  up  the  flagpole.  So  great  was 
the  demoralization  in  the  ranks  of  the  Mexicans,  the  troops 
could  have  entered  the  city  upon  the  heels  of  the  fugi 
tives.  Scott's  motives  were  noble,  and  his  aim  was  to 
prevent  further  bloodshed,  but  unquestionably  he  made  a 
mistake  at  this  point  which  prolonged  the  war. 

All  the  Mexicans  expected  his  entry,  as  a  batch  of 
intercepted  letters  of  the  time  show.  The  city  was  in 
terror.  The  streets  were  filled  with  Valencia's  fleeing 
soldiers,  and  Santa  Ana's  troops  streamed  about  the  city 
distractedly,  worn,  and  covered  with  mud.  The  whole 
city  shuddered  as  if  menaced  by  flood  or  by  fire,  and  in 
despair  awaited  Scott's  invading  hosts. 



WILD  charges  arose  against  Santa  Ana  and  other 
officers.  They  were  accused  of  letting  jealousy 
of  each  other  destroy  their  patriotism.  Santa  Ana  was 
accused  openly  of  having  left  Valencia  to  be  swallowed 
up  at  Contreras.  The  commander  of  the  cavalry  was 
accused  of  cowardice,  while  Santa  Ana  himself  was  nearly 
crazed  with  chagrin ;  for  at  Churubusco  the  editor  of  the 
"  American  Star  "  (a  paper  started  a  little  later  in  Mexico 
City)  found  blowing  about  in  the  mud  scores  of  copies  of 
a  grandiose  address  published  by  Santa  Ana  among  his 

"  I  count  and  rely,"  he  ended,  "  upon  the  courage  of 
the  brave  men  who  have  sworn  to  conquer  or  to  perish 
with  me.  Shall  ten  or  twelve  thousand  men,  let  loose 
among  a  population  which  detests  them,  have  it  in  their 
power  to  make  us  cower?  No;  we  will  chastise  them; 
and  God,  who  protects  the  justice  of  nations,  will  visit 
them  with  condign  punishment.  Let  our  motto  be, 
'  Independence  or  death.' ' 

This  was  the  proper  spirit,  and  there  is  no  question  but 
Santa  Ana  meant  it.  Incompetency  on  the  part  of  the 
officers  does  not  alone  explain  their  defeat.  As  a  matter 
of  fact,  the  trouble  lay  deeper  than  even  the  personnel  of 
the  army.  The  nation  was  organically  weak.  It  was 
not  ready  for  such  a  war.  Its  rulers  were  hopelessly 
divided.  It  was  an  Indian  nation  governed  by  Spaniards 
or  Spanish  descendants,  and  the  army  was  largely  com 
posed  of  peons  forcibly  impressed  into  service,  and  there 
fore  the  entire  army  lacked  the  patriotism  which  includes 


98  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

both  the  past  and  the  future.  They  would  defend  with 
frantic  bravery  their  own  city  or  province,  but  they  could 
not  fight  for  the  whole  nation,  because  they  had  not  yet 
conceived  an  emotion  so  deep  and  broad. 

A  man  who  has  always  toiled  like  an  ox,  carrying  grain 
and  dirt  in  baskets  on  his  head,  who  has  been  driven  into 
the  army  with  his  arms  tied  behind  him,  is  not  likely  to 
stand  erect  in  review,  nor  to  fight  heartily  and  with  intelli 
gence  when  the  charge  comes.  Not  all  the  men  were  of 
this  class,  but  many  of  them  indisputably  were.  When 
the  Americans,  yelling  like  wild-cats,  with  their  teeth 
clenched  in  jocular  curses,  leaped  over  their  breastwork, 
the  peon  soldiers  fled.  They  could  not  comprehend  such 

Again,  Scott's  army  moved  as  a  unit.  Every  man 
knew  that  only  victory  could  save  him.  He  was  in  the 
enemy's  country.  Each  column  had  the  unwavering 
directness  of  a  cannon-ball.  It  moved  like  a  battering- 
ram  in  a  charge.  It  did  not  scatter,  nor  work  blindly ; 
every  blow  reached  the  heart.  Its  column  pierced  the 
defenses  of  the  Mexicans  as  the  steel  projectile  of  the 
rifled  siege-gun  enters  a  wall  of  lath  and  plaster.  It  was 
not  the  fault  of  general  commanders  that  Matamoros  and 
Monterey  and  Buena  Vista  and  Vera  Cruz  and  Contreras 
capitulated :  it  was  because  the  nation  was  not  in  fact  an 
organism.  Its  people  were  not  yet  of  national  sympa 
thies.  The  states  were  not  loyal.  Some  were  ready  to 
secede.  The  army  was  too  new,  too  untried  yet,  to  afford 
power  proportionate  to  the  population.  There  were  seven 
millions  of  people,  it  is  true ;  but  out  of  these  to  get  an 
army  together  required  strenuous  effort  and  the  use  of 
the  manacle. 

Then,  too,  the  wealthy  citizens  were  afraid  of  a  military 
dictator,  and  each  general's  hand  was  believed  to  be 
reaching  for  a  despot's  scepter.  The  church  was  alarmed, 
and  warring  against  the  Puros,  who  were  threatening  their 
revenues.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  a  revolution  had  been  put 
down  in  the  previous  February  only  by  the  return  of 
Santa  Ana  from  the  north.  The  whole  republic  was  torn 
with  religious  and  political  jealousy  and  suspicion. 

GRANT  AT  MOLING  DEL  REY          99 

In  view  of  these  facts,  the  entire  campaign  by  Scott 
loses  in  honor  while  retaining  its  elements  of  almost 
criminal  bravery  and  high  generalship.  The  plan  had 
the  audacity  of  youth  and  the  sober  restraint  of  a  really 
great  general.  The  actual  fighting,  in  the  light  of  the 
Civil  War,  was  inconsiderable.  It  would  have  been  the 
highest  mercy  for  Scott  to  have  entered  Mexico  at  once ; 
but  he  did  not,  and  two  bloody  battles  came  on  a  month 

There  now  intervened  a  truce,  during  which  neither 
army  was  to  strengthen  its  position  or  secure  reinforce 
ments,  though  Scott  was  allowed  to  procure  supplies  for 
his  army.  Mr.  Trist,  on  the  part  of  the  United  States, 
worked  zealously  to  secure  a  treaty  of  peace.  He  de 
manded  all  of  Texas  unequivocally,  and  also  California 
and  New  Mexico,  for  which  a  certain  sum  of  money  was 
to  be  paid. 

While  this  was  going  on,  Scott,  with  Worth's  division, 
was  occupying  Tacubaya,  a  little  Indian  town  on  the  edge 
of  the  high  ground,  and  about  four  miles  from  Mexico. 
From  near  Tacubaya  a  low  cape  of  rocky  wooded  land 
extended  irregularly  into  the  flat  land,  and  ended  abruptly 
in  a  high  rocky  knob.  This  knob  formed  a  magnificent 
natural  fortress,  and  the  castle  of  Chapultepec  had  been 
built  upon  it  and  carefully  fortified.  The  castle,  a  long, 
low,  thick-walled  structure,  covered  almost  the  entire  top. 
On  the  sides  and  at  the  base  were  other  fortifications, 
and  to  the  west  and  north  a  fine  stone  aqueduct  made  a 
formidable  wall,  for  its  arches  had  been  filled  in  with 
blocks  of  adobe. 

Back  of  this  fortress,  and  also  inclosed  by  the  aqueduct, 
was  an  old  mill,  which  was  reported  to  Scott  to  be  Santa 
Aria's  cannon  foundry.  It  was  a  plain  square  structure, 
with  a  wide  wall  inclosing  it.  In  the  wall  were  sheds  and 
houses.  It  was  heavily  garrisoned,  and  seemed  to  be 
highly  valued  by  the  enemy.  It  was  the  strongest  for 
tress  yet  held  by  the  Mexicans,  and  to  Quartermaster 
Grant  it  seemed  impregnable. 

The  truce  was  broken  by  the  Mexicans,  who  were 
driving  in  poor  peons,  with  arms  tied  behind  them,  to 

100  LIFE   OF    GRANT 

reinforce  the  army ;  and  church  bells  were  reported  to  be 
on  the  way  to  Molino  del  Rey  to  be  made  into  cannon. 
Other  preparations  were  also  being  made  to  strengthen 
position,  and  Scott,  on  the  4th  of  September,  declared 
the  armistice  at  an  end,  and  marched  upon  Molino  del 
Rey  from  Tacubaya.  During  the  night  of  the  7th  the 
army  moved  up  within  striking  distance  of  the  enemy, 
and  at  daylight  another  impetuous  charge  was  made,  and 
the  enemy  routed  in  a  short  time. 

The  mill  was  taken  and  lost  and  retaken  several  times 
in  a  few  minutes  before  Chapultepec  seemed  aware  of  it. 
The  Americans  attacked  it  in  squads,  each  squad  intent 
and  clear-sighted.  Commanders  were  hardly  necessary 
to  these  men ;  each  sergeant,  each  lieutenant,  was  a  leader ; 
and  it  was  this  superior  judgment  and  decision  on  the 
part  of  the  private  soldiers  and  subordinate  officers  which 
won  in  the  fight. 

In  this  battle  Quartermaster  Grant  was,  as  usual,  in 
the  forefront.  "  You  could  not  keep  Grant  out  of  battle," 
said  Longstreet.  The  duties  of  quartermaster  could  not 
shut  him  out  of  his  command.  He  was  in  the  first  rush, 
and  had  an  exciting  time  of  it.  His  friend  Dent  was 
shot,  and  escaped  being  killed  by  Grant's  intervention. 

"  While  pursuing  the  Mexicans,  who  were  crowding 
into  the  mill  for  safety,"  the  same  witness  reported,  "  he 
stumbled  over  his  friend,  who  was  lying  on  the  floor  with 
a  wound  in  the  thigh.  Just  as  he  was  stooping  to  examine 
Dent's  wound,  Grant  came  face  to  face  with  a  Mexican 
with  musket  raised  to  fire.  The  Mexican  wheeled  to 
escape,  and,  seeing  Lieutenant  Thorne  standing  between 
him  and  the  door,  was  about  to  fire  when  Grant  shouted 
a  warning.  The  Mexican  was  killed  by  Thorne ;  then  all 
the  squad  rushed  through  into  the  inclosure  of  the  mill, 
hot  on  the  track  of  the  fleeing  Mexicans.  The  charge 
had  been  so  impetuous  that  those  who  were  behind  the 
parapets  on  the  roof  of  the  wall  could  not  escape.  They 
were  treed  like  wild-cats  on  the  walls.  Grant  was  every 
where  on  the  field.  He  was  always  cool,  swift,  and  un 
hurried  in  battle.  He  was  as  unconcerned,  apparently, 
as  if  it  were  a  hail-storm  instead  of  a  storm  of  bullets. 


The  battle  of  Chapultepec,  showing  Grant's 
regiment,  the  Fourth  Infantry,  in  the  fore 
ground  on  the  right. 


I  had  occasion  to  observe  his  superb  courage  under  fire. 
So  remarkable  was  his  bravery  that  mention  was  made  of 
it  in  the  official  reports,  and  I  heard  his  colonel  say  :  '  There 
goes  a  man  of  fire.' ' 

It  was  not  long  before  the  cannon  on  Chapultepec 
began  to  get  the  range,  and  the  captors  of  Molino  del 
Rey  were  forced  to  evacuate  the  position.  At  that  time 
Grant  believed  that,  had  the  fleeing  Mexicans  been  closely 
pursued,  the  Northern  army  could  have  entered  Chapul 
tepec  behind  them  without  loss  of  life.  As  it  was,  four 
days  later  volunteers  were  called  for  to  make  an  attack 
upon  Chapultepec.  It  seemed  a  desperate  undertaking, 
for,  in  the  hands  of  a  few  determined  men,  the  castle 
would  have  held  an  army  of  ten  thousand  men  at  rifle- 
range.  It  loomed  high  up  over  the  walls  at  its  base,  with 
cannon  peering  grimly  from  its  parapets,  with  other 
pieces  half-way  up  its  sides;  and  yet  so  confident  were 
the  men  of  taking  it  that  two  volunteer  columns  of  two 
hundred  and  fifty  men  each  were  made  up  instantly. 
They  were  led  by  Captain  Silas  Casey  and  Captain 
Samuel  McKenzie. 

One  division  dug  through  the  filled-up  arches  of  the 
aqueduct  on  the  north,  and  assaulted  that  way.  The 
other  went  up  the  south  side,  over  defenses,  earthworks, 
and  ditches,  and  scaled  the  walls  in  the  very  shadow  of 
the  thunderous  cannon;  and  the  citizens  of  Mexico,  now 
completely  disheartened,  saw  the  gay  flag  of  the  Ameri 
cans  flame  over  their  last  fortress.  Pell-mell  down  the 
aqueduct  leading  to  the  Balen  gates,  and  along  the  aque 
duct  Veronica  leading  toward  Tlaxpanna,  the  Mexicans 
retreated.  General  Quitman  commanded  the  column 
moving  toward  Balen,  and  General  Worth  directed  the 
advance  toward  Tlaxpanna  and  San  Cosme.  Grant  was 
in  the  latter  command,  and  from  arch  to  arch  of  the 
aqueduct  he  scudded  with  his  companions,  meeting  with 
little  serious  resistance  till  they  came  within  gunshot  of 
Tlaxpanna,  where  the  aqueduct  turns  at  right  angles 
toward  the  city  through  the  San  Cosme  gates.  Grant's 
impetuous  but  cool  and  determined  advance  kept  him 
with  the  hardiest  of  the  private  soldiers,  and  there  was 

102  LiFfi   OF   GRANT 

but  a  squad  of  privates  and  one  or  two  commissioned 
officers  with  him  when  the  cannon  of  Tlaxpanna  were 

As  usual,  the  flat  roofs  of  the  houses  were  manned  and 
fortified.  While  waiting  for  reinforcements  Grant  did  a 
little  reconnoitering  on  his  own  account,  and  finding  a 
way  to  the  San  Cosme  road  in  the  rear  of  the  men  serving 
the  cannon,  he  led  a  small  force  there,  and  drove  the 
enemy  from  their  position  to  a  second  defense  about 
half-way  to  the  San  Cosme  gates.  They  were  too  few  in 
numbers  to  hold  this  advanced  position,  and,  together 
with  Captain  Horace  Brooks,  who  led  the  assault,  Grant 
retired  to  Tlaxpanna  to  wait  reinforcements. 

At  a  later  hour  in  the  day  he  reconnoitered  on  the 
south  side  of  the  San  Cosme  road,  and  came  to  the  con 
clusion  that  he  could  use  a  small  howitzer  to  good  effect 
from  the  steeple  of  the  Church  of  San  Cosme,  which  stood 
about  three  hundred  yards  outside  the  San  Cosme  gates. 

This  church  had  at  its  eastern  end  and  front  a  bell- 
tower  of  moderate  proportions,  with  a  very  narrow  flight 
of  steps  leading  to  it.  Up  these  steps  the  impetuous 
lieutenant  and  his  squad  tugged  a  small  mountain  howitzer, 
and,  putting  it  together  beneath  the  bells,  began  to  shell 
the  houses  back  of  the  gates,  to  the  amazement  and 
scandal  of  the  Mexicans,  who  seemed  not  to  understand 
that  they  might  easily  sally  out  and  capture  this  audacious 
Yankee.  This  bold  and  ingenious  exploit  was  seen  by 
General  Worth,  who  sent  Lieutenant  Pemberton  to  bring 
the  quartermaster  to  him. 

"  This  is  mighty  fine  work,  sir.  Every  shot  tells.  I  '11 
send  you  another  gun." 

Grant  saluted, — "  Thank  you,  general," — and  took  the 
extra  gun,  knowing  well  he  could  not  use  reinforcements 
in  the  narrow  space  of  the  belfry.  He  was  aware,  also, 
that  a  lieutenant  could  n't  by  any  chance  know  more  than 
a  general. 

That  night  ended  the  Mexican  War.  General  Santa 
Ana  fled  to  Qtieretaro,  leaving  the  city  of  Mexico  to  its 
fate.  The  City  Council,  in  the  absence  of  the  national 
government,  entered  upon  a  discussion  of  peace  measures. 


In  fact,  they  met  Scott  that  night,  and  attempted  to  get 
him  to  sign  articles  of  peace  outside  the  city.  But  Scott, 
who  loved  parade,  but  was  also  a  loyal  soldier,  replied : 

"  Gentlemen,  I  will  sign  anything  in  the  city  that  I 
will  out  of  it,  and  I  intend  to  march  into  your  city  in 
triumph,  unrestricted  by  any  articles  of  capitulation." 

This  he  did,  and  it  was  a  bitter  day  to  the  Mexicans 
when  they  saw  the  big  gray  old  Yankee  general,  arrayed 
in  his  best  uniform,  and  bestriding  his  biggest  charger, 
entering  their  city  and  taking  possession  of  their  palaces. 
They  were  invaders.  No  excuses  can  be  made  to  cover 
that.  The  war  was  questionable,  and  it  is  probable  Scott 
felt  its  essential  injustices ;  but  he  was  a  soldier,  and  had 
the  pride  of  conquest  which  the  soldier  must  have  as  an 
incentive.  He  moved  to  the  storied  "  halls  of  the  Monte- 
zumas,"  and  took  command  of  the  city.  His  rule  was 
wise  and  just.  No  one  remembers  anything  against  him. 
He  secured  property  against  pillage,  and  allowed  few 
reprisals,  even  upon  those  who  made  a  fortress  of  their 
homes.  He  abolished  the  alcabala,  or  labor  tax,  and 
granted  all  reasonable  requests  on  the  part  of  peaceful 

It  was  soon  after  their  entry  that,  in  passing  a  church, 
a  squad  of  soldiers  were  assailed  from  the  roof.  They 
rushed  into  a  shop  near  by,  and  asked  for  chisels  and  axes 
to  hew  down  the  door.  The  owner  of  the  store,  a  sturdy 
Englishman,  Peter  Green,  said :  "  I  am  a  resident  here. 
I  can't  give  you  the  tools,  but  I  can't  help  your  taking 
them."  They  got  the  tools,  and  captured  the  uncon- 
quered  citizens.  Peter  Green  and  his  wife  became  the 
friends  of  Quartermaster  Grant,  and  during  the  following 
months  he  was  a  constant  visitor  at  their  house.  They 
lived  on  San  Francisco  Street,  and  Grant  was  for  a  time 
quartered  in  the  San  Francisco  church  and  convent 

At  the  Greens'  he  met  a  fine,  wholesome  family,  some 
what  like  his  own  people  in  Ohio,  and  it  was  a  keen 
delight  to  take  tea  with  them,  and  feel  again  the  influence 
of  a  family.  The  daughter  Sarah  remembers  him  well, 
though  she  was  but  a  child.  "  We  thought  the  world  of 

104  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

him,"  she  said.  "  He  was  so  good-natured,  and  full  of 
his  jokes.  He  wore  a  long  beard  then,  which  seemed 
out  of  place  on  such  a  boy.  I  suppose  he  wanted  to 
look  old.  He  was  a  daily  visitor  at  our  house,  and  my 
people  talked  of  him  a  great  deal.  John  C.  Hill  used  to 
come  to  see  us,  too — him  that  was  educated  by  Santa 

Dr.  John  C.  Hill  remembers  him  well  as  a  boyish  fel 
low,  fond  of  jokes  and  frolic,  but  one  who  laughed  little 
himself.  "  He  was  of  most  excellent  habits,  a  good 
soldier,  and  a  good  man.  He  was  an  active,  sturdy  little 
fellow,  much  liked  by  all  his  companions.  I  saw  him  at 
the  Greens',  where  we  used  to  gather  to  have  tea  on 
Sunday.  He  was  very  sociable  and  jolly;  that  is  all  I 
remember  about  him.  By  sociable  I  don't  mean  talka 
tive  ;  he  was  always  a  man  of  few  words ;  but  he  liked  to 
be  where  company  was  and  where  talk  was  going  on." 

It  was  impossible  for  Grant  to  be  idle.  After  he  was 
quartered  at  Tacubaya  he  rented  a  bakery,  and  ran  it  for 
the  benefit  of  the  regiment.  "  In  two  months  I  made 
more  money  for  the  regimental  fund  than  my  pay 
amounted  to  during  the  entire  war.  While  stationed  at 
Monterey  I  had  relieved  the  post  in  the  very  same  way," 
he  wrote  at  a  later  time. 

In  May,  1848,  the  evacuation  of  Mexico  was  ordered; 
Mexico  had  conceded  all  the  demands  of  the  Northern 



RANT  was  eager  to  return,  for  he  felt  free  now  to 
marry  the  faithful  little  woman  in  far-off  Gravois. 
He  had  distinguished  himself  by  brave  deeds  and  saga 
cious  plans  well  carried  out.  He  had  been  twice  pro 
moted  for  gallantry,  and  was  returning  to  his  bride  elect 
a  brevet  captain.  Of  course,  this  seemed  little  enough. 
Luck  seemed  all  against  him,  for,  as  he  said :  "  I  had  gone 
into  the  battle  of  Palo  Alto  a  second  lieutenant,  in  May, 
1 846,  and  entered  the  city  of  Mexico,  sixteen  months  later, 
with  the  same  rank,  after  having  been  in  all  the  battles 
possible  to  one  man,  and  in  a  regiment  that  lost  more 
officers  during  the  war  than  it  ever  had  present  at  any 
one  engagement.  My  regiment  lost  four  commissioned 
officers  (all  senior  to  me)  by  steamboat  explosions.  The 
Mexicans  were  not  so  discriminating;  they  sometimes 
picked  off  my  juniors." 

The  grim  smile  in  that  last  line  is  appreciated  fully  only 
by  the  eagerly  ambitious  young  officer  in  the  regular  army 
waiting  the  inexorable  procession  of  officers  in  promotion. 

Nevertheless,  considering  the  large  number  of  officers 
and  the  small  number  of  men,  he  showed  the  metal  of  his 
inherited  nature.  For  a  lad  who  had  no  love  for  guns, 
or  trainings,  or  Fourth  of  July  anvils,  to  win  mention  and 
two  brevets  for  gallant  conduct  was  genuine  achievement. 
He  was  not  afraid  of  bullets,  and  no  noise  or  hurly-burly 
could  confuse  him. 

General  Worth  made  his  "  acknowledgments  to  Lieu 
tenant  Grant  for  distinguished  services."  Captain  Horace 
Brooks,  in  his  report,  says :  "  I  succeeded  in  reaching  the 


106  LIFE   OF    GRANT 

fort  with  a  few  men.  Here  Lieutenant  U.  S.  Grant  and 
a  few  others  of  the  Fourth  Infantry  found  me.  By  a 
joint  movement,  after  an  obstinate  resistance,  the  strong 
field-work  was  carried  and  the  enemy's  right  completely 

Major  Francis  Lee,  commander  of  the  Fourth  Infantry 
at  Chapultepec,  makes  the  following  report :  "At  the  first 
barrier  the  enemy  was  a  strong  force,  which  rendered  it 
necessary  to  advance  with  caution.  This  was  done,  and 
when  the  head  of  the  battalion  was  within  short  musket- 
range,  Lieutenant  Grant  and  Captain  Brooks's  Second 
Artillery,  with  a  few  men  of  their  respective  regiments, 
by  a  handsome  movement  to  the  left  turned  the  right 
flank  of  the  enemy.  .  .  .  Lieutenant  Grant  behaved  with 
distinguished  gallantry  on  the  I3th  and  I4th." 

Colonel  Garland  said :  "  I  must  not  omit  to  call  atten 
tion  to  Lieutenant  Grant,  who  acquitted  himself  most 
nobly  upon  several  occasions  under  my  observation." 
He  speaks  also  of  "  a  howitzer  which,  under  the  direction 
of  Lieutenant  Grant,  quartermaster  of  the  Fourth  In 
fantry,  and  Lieutenant  Lendrum  of  the  Third  Artillery, 
annoyed  the  enemy  considerably." 

Of  his  bravery,  his  activity,  and  his  discretion  there  can 
be  no  dispute.  He  "  went  in  anywhere  "  along  the  line. 
He  was  ambitious  then.  Love  influenced  him,  perhaps. 
He  had  the  natural  desire  to  return  to  his  bride  bearing 
all  possible  honors.  It  was  with  a  peculiar  chagrin  that 
he  woke,  one  morning,  to  find  a  thousand  dollars  of  regi 
mental  money  stolen  from  a  friend  with  whom  he  had 
placed  it  for  safe-keeping.  Major  J.  H.  Gore  had  a  trunk 
with  a  lock  to  it,  and  in  this  trunk  he  placed  Lieutenant 
Grant's  regimental  funds.  During  the  night  a  hole  was 
cut  in  the  tent  and  through  the  leather  trunk,  and  the 
money  taken.  A  report  covering  these  facts  was  made 
out,  and  signed  by  Major  Gore  and  one  or  two  others, 
which  Lieutenant  Grant  sent  in  to  the  War  Department, 
and  left  matters  in  their  hands.  This  gave  rise  to  vari 
ous  exaggerated  rumors  of  embezzlement,  etc.  Ulti 
mately  the  facts  were  laid  before  Congress,  and  he  was 
completely  cleared  of  all  blame. 

CLOSE    OF    THE    WAR  IO/ 

From  a  military  point  of  view,  these  years  of  active 
service  were  of  incalculable  value.  They  formed  his 
postgraduate  course.  They  made  theories  of  his  instruc 
tion  at  West  Point  realities.  He  saw  two  really  great 
commanders  work  out  military  manoeuvers  of  unques 
tioned  brilliancy.  He  saw  Scott  cut  loose  from  his  base 
of  supplies,  and  subsist  on  the  country.  He  saw  him 
parole  prisoners  as  the  cheapest  and  best  way  to  be  rid  of 
them.  He  saw  Taylor  flank  the  enemy  at  Monterey,  and 
watched  him  under  fire,  cool,  unhurried.  He  observed 
Scott  cooperating  with  gunboats,  and  directing  artillery. 
Being  quartermaster,  he  had  great  freedom  of  action  in 
battle,  and  was  able  to  range  freely  along  the  lines,  to 
inspect  siege-guns,  and  to  see  all  that  went  on. 

From  Taylor  he  learned  the  lesson  of  simplicity  in  army 
regulation,  from  Scott  rigorous  discipline.  As  quarter 
master  he  acquired  ideas  upon  feeding  and  clothing  an 
army.  He  wrestled  with  difficulties.  He  met  them  hand 
to  hand.  He  perceived  the  difference  between  disciplined 
troops  moving  under  one  man's  direction,  and  many 
troops  operating  on  lines  not  converging  to  a  common 
purpose.  All  these  things  he  saw,  and  they  sank  deep 
into  his  impressionable  mind.  He  was  not  conscious  of 
them  at  the  time,  but,  as  one  of  his  fellow-officers  said  of 
him,  "  All  along  he  was  massing  facts  in  the  storehouse 
of  his  great  memory."  He  forgot  nothing  which  could 
be  of  use  to  him.  He  had  a  comprehensive  view  of  the 
whole  war,  and  was  fitted  to  write  a  clear  account  of  all 
the  manoeuvers. 

He  came  in  contact,  also,  with  most  of  the  young 
officers  of  the  army — Robert  E.  Lee,  Joseph  E.  Johnston, 
Albert  Sidney  Johnston,  Thomas  Holmes,  Paul  O.  Her 
bert,  John  C.  Pemberton,  James  Longstreet,  Simon  B. 
Buckner,  and  many  others.  He  knew  these  officers  very 
well.  He  understood  their  mental  habits  and  their  per 
sonal  ideas  of  warfare,  and  such  things  he  never  forgot. 
The  wolves  in  the  chaparral  could  instruct  him  as  well  as 
the  voice  of  his  revered  general. 

That  Taylor  confirmed  Grant  in  his  dislike  of  uniform 
is  probable.  His  soldierly  attitude  toward  the  adminis- 

108  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

tration,  his  sturdy  refusal  to  be  made  use  of,  his  serene 
waiting  for  orders,  and,  finally,  his  swift  and  unhesitating 
execution  of  plans,  profoundly  instructed  the  young  lieu 
tenant.  He  came  out  of  the  army  as  well  prepared  to 
command  as  any  man  of  his  age  in  the  two  armies. 

This  campaign  formed,  also,  the  boy's  epic.  For  years 
to  come  he  was  to  talk  of  it  and  to  dream  of  it.  He  had 
gone,  a  beardless  youth,  from  the  quiet  routine  of  West 
Point  and  the  pleasant  life  at  Jefferson  Barracks  into 
service  in  Texas,  to  become  a  part  of  an  army.  Then 
came  wonderful  marches  into  the  unknown,  with  strange 
plants,  flowers,  fruits,  on  every  side,  and  at  last  enormous 
mountains  lifting  into  the  burning  sky.  He  entered 
Indian  towns,  primitive  in  habit  and  machinery  as  the 
land  of  the  Kafir.  Monterey  was  stormed  and  carried. 
Then  on  to  wider  and  more  marvelous  campaigns,  over 
the  ground  made  storied  by  Cortez  and  his  conquerors. 
Vera  Cruz,  dozing  under  the  terrible  sun,  and  Cerro 
Gordo,  the  sugar-loaf,  became  a  fact,  and  Jalapa  the 
beautiful  a  realized  poem,  set  among  the  mountains,  a 
city  of  cool  water,  wholesome  fruits,  and  kindly  people. 
Thence  to  Perote,  seated  in  dust  and  ruins,  like  Egypt; 
and  thence  to  Puebla  to  confront  the  mightiest  peaks  of 
our  continent;  and  at  last  Mexico! 

That  he  loved  to  dwell  upon  these  marvelous  scenes 
all  his  friends  know.  It  came  at  an  age  when  the  most 
poetic  side  of  his  nature  was  uppermost.  An  accepted 
lover,  he  was  a  part  of  the  most  daring,  the  most  romantic, 
and  the  most  unjust  war  in  which  the  United  States  ever 
took  part.  That  it  broadened  his  thought  and  developed 
his  power  is  without  doubt.  He  had  grown  in  resource, 
energy,  and  in  military  technique.  He  knew  the  actuali 
ties  of  war.  In  his  impressionable  period  he  came  in 
contact  with  two  admittedly  great  generals,  and  faced 
both  volunteer  and  regular  troops.  He  had  been  in 
every  battle  of  the  army  of  which  he  was  a  part. 

From  this  activity,  this  romanceful,  exciting  warfare,  he 
was  loath  to  drop  back  into  the  dull  routine  of  barrack 
life.  He  was  but  twenty-five  years  of  age  when  the  war 



THE  Fourth  Infantry  returned  to  the  beautiful  bar 
racks  of  New  Orleans  for  a  short  stay,  and  then 
embarked  for  New  York.  But  Grant,  procuring  another 
leave  of  absence,  took  steamer  up  the  Mississippi  River 
on  the  most  important  business  of  his  life,  which  was  to 
marry  Miss  Julia  Dent.  "  The  small  lieutenant  with  the 
big  epaulets  "  was  returning  a  bronzed  veteran  of  many 
battles  and  with  merited  promotions.  He  was  now  brevet 
captain,  and  felt  in  a  position  to  take  a  wife. 

An  excessively  modest  marriage  notice  appeared  in 
the  newspapers  of  St.  Louis  of  August  22,  1848,  and  that 
was  the  only  public  recognition  of  this  mighty  event. 
Privately  tales  circulated  describing  the  shy  young  soldier 
who  found  his  long  sword  in  the  way  of  his  leg,  and  who 
trembled  more  than  at  Monterey  or  Cerro  Gordo.  How 
ever,  he  did  not  think  at  the  time  to  be  ever  again  called 
to  make  a  speech  or  get  married. 

Immediately  after  the  marriage,  which  took  place  at 
the  bride's  home,  the  young  people  visited  the  Grants  at 
Bethel,  the  Simpsons  at  Bantam,  and  old  friends  of  the 
young  lieutenant  at  Georgetown.  Their  friends  recall 
the  very  fair-skinned,  petite,  and  vivacious  little  lady  who 
accompanied  "  Ulyss,"  as  they  still  continued  to  call  the 
rising  soldier.  Jesse  Grant  beamed  with  pride  of  his  son. 
"  He  would  stop  any  time  in  the  rain  to  talk  about  Ulysses." 

Samuel  Simpson  of  Bantam  worried  through  a  visit 
from  Lieutenant  Grant  and  a  young  Mexican  named 
Gregory,  who  accompanied  him.  They  spent  a  great 


110  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

deal  of  time  throwing  the  lariat,  and  Ulysses  became 
quite  expert  with  it.  He  tried  it  on  the  pigs,  calves,  and 
cows ;  nothing  was  exempt.  This  love  of  sport  showed  a 
wholesome  boyishness  still  in  the  heart  of  the  soldier. 
Gregory  could  not  speak  English,  and  Ulysses  talked  to 
him  in  Spanish,  to  the  wonder  of  the  natives.  At  even 
ing,  on  the  street  before  the  stores,  the  young  soldier 
submitted  to  questions  concerning  the  war  and  Mexico, 
and  often  kept  the  crowd  late  into  the  night  with  the 
interest  of  his  narrative.  He  talked  with  enthusiasm,  and 
with  precision,  too,  of  all  the  campaigns  in  which  he  had 
been  a  part.  The  neighbors  were  done  with  sneering  at 
him  now;  he  was  recognized  as  a  veteran  and  a  man  of 
honorable  deeds ;  and  in  Bethel  the  young  men  who  had 
ridiculed  him  by  caricaturing  his  new  uniform  now  treated 
him  with  distinguished  consideration,  for  the  uniform  was 
dignified  by  powder-stains  and  by  the  grime  of  months 
of  hard  life  in  camp  and  field. 

After  a  few  care-free  weeks  spent  among  old  friends, 
the  young  soldier  took  his  bride  to  join  his  regiment  at 
Detroit,  where  he  arrived  November  17,  1848,  according 
to  the  "Free  Press"  of  that  day;  and  on  November  21 
he  was  sent  to  Sacket's  Harbor,  in  northern  New  York, 
on  the  shores  of  Lake  Ontario. 

He  was  still  quartermaster  of  his  regiment,  and  was 
entitled  to  remain  at  Detroit;  but  his  superior,  Colonel 
Whistler,  for  some  surly  reasons,  had  Grant  ordered  to 
the  bleak  and  undesirable  post  of  Sacket's  Harbor. 
Grant  protested  that  his  proper  place  as  quartermaster 
was  at  Detroit  with  the  regimental  headquarters,  but 
obeyed  the  order.  He  laid  his  grievances  before  Brevet 
Colonel  Francis  Lee,  commander  of  the  regiment,  and  it 
was  forwarded  to  General  Scott.  Scott  decided  in  Grant's 
favor,  but  as  navigation  on  the  lakes  had  closed,  Grant 
postponed  returning  to  Detroit  till  spring. 

There  are  not  many  people  in  Sacket's  Harbor  who 
remember  Lieutenant  Grant's  first  visit,  but  it  happens 
that  one  or  two  credible  witnesses  remain  to  give  some 
account  of  the  young  soldier. 

He  settled  quietly  to  his  work,  and  made  friends  at 

House  in  which  General  Grant  was  married,  St.  Louis,  Missouri. 
From  a  recent  photograph  taken  expressly  for  this  work. 


once  by  his  modest  demeanor  and  gentle  habit  of  com 
mand.  One  of  his  musicians  remembers  him  with  great 
clearness,  for  Grant  did  him  many  favors : 

"  Lieutenant  Grant  was  a  favorite  among  the  enlisted 
men.  He  was  a  mild-spoken  man,  and  always  asked  his 
men  to  do  their  duty ;  he  never  ordered  them  in  an  offen 
sive  way.  He  was  very  sociable — always  talked  to  a  man 
freely  and  without  putting  on  the  airs  of  a  superior 
officer.  At  that  time  he  wore  his  hair  rather  long,  but 
had  shaved  off  his  beard,  and  his  face  was  serious  of  ex 
pression  in  repose.  He  used  to  ride  and  drive  a  great 
deal,  and  was  known  as  a  strong,  active  little  man,  and 
could  take  care  of  himself,  if  necessary.  He  and  Mrs. 
Grant  used  to  go  to  little  dancing-parties,  but  I  don't 
think  he  ever  danced. 

"  He  lived  very  modestly, — he  could  n't  afford  to  do 
anything  else,  on  his  pay, — but  his  wife  made  his  humble 
quarters  cozy  and  homelike.  His  only  dissipation  was  in 
owning  a  fast  horse.  He  still  had  a  passion  for  horses, 
and  was  willing  to  pay  a  high  price  to  get  a  fine  one." 

Few  knew  him,  for  he  lived  very  close  to  his  duties  and 
his  home.  He  attended  church  in  exemplary  fashion, 
and  was  an  earnest  advocate  of  temperance  at  the  time. 
He  helped  organize  a  lodge  of  the  Sons  of  Temperance 
at  the  barracks,  and  gave  hearty  encouragement  to  the 
order  in  the  village  by  his  presence.  It  is  claimed  that 
he  marched  once  in  the  procession,  wearing  the  regalia  of 
the  lodge. 

One  of  his  acquaintances  heard  him  refuse  to  join  in 
a  drinking-party  once,  and  spoke  to  him  about  it  after 
ward.  He  explained  his  action  by  saying  :  "  I  heard  John 
B.  Gough  lecture  a  short  time  ago,  and  I  have  become 
convinced  that  there  is  no  safety  from  ruin  by  liquor 
except  by  abstaining  from  it  altogether." 

It  took  courage  in  those  days  to  wear  the  white  apron 
of  the  Sons  of  Temperance,  but  Lieutenant  Grant  was 
not  one  to  dodge  in  battle.  The  life  at  the  barracks  was 
slow  and  uneventful,  and  in  playing  to  pass  away  time 
Lieutenant  Grant  became  a  good  checker-player,  and 
worsted  everybody  at  the  barracks.  There  is  a  story  in 

112  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

the  Harbor  wherein  it  is  related  that  he  rode  over  to 
Watertown  occasionally  to  meet  a  redoubtable  expert.  It 
was  ten  miles  over  there,  and  generally  he  rode  it  in 
forty-five  minutes  ;  he  could  n't  abide  a  slow  horse.  The 
champion  was  a  shoemaker,  and  after  some  trials  the  two 
players  settled  upon  a  series  of  games  and  the  wager.  It 
was  further  agreed  that  if  the  series  ended  in  a  draw  the 
supremacy  should  be  determined  by  a  foot-race.  It 
turned  out  an  even  contest,  amid  some  considerable 
interest.  The  rivals  went  out  into  the  street  and  laid  out 
the  course.  Grant  was  a  small  young  fellow,  and  lively 
on  foot,  and  led  the  sedentary  shoemaker  from  the  start. 
He  was  so  confident  of  victory  that  he  did  not  take  off 
his  linen  duster.  He  won  the  race,  and,  mounting  his 
horse,  rode  home  in  triumph. 

There  was  a  strong  military  feeling  about  the  forts 
during  those  days,  and  old  army  forms  were  rigidly  main 
tained  ;  but  Grant  never  insisted  on  his  rank.  He  was 
always  simple  and  kindly  in  his  manner,  and  performed 
his  duties  without  fuss  or  flurry,  and  was  considered  a  good 
officer.  As  soon  as  spring  opened  he  returned  to  Detroit. 
He  was  very  glad  to  do  this,  for  Sacket's  Harbor  at  that 
time  was  far  separated  from  the  outside  world  even  in 
summer;  in  fact,  it  was  a  cold,  bleak,  and  inhospitable 
port  at  the  edge  of  a  vast  wind-swept  lake  of  ice  and 
snow.  Youth  and  love  had  made  it  a  habitable  spot,  but 
nevertheless  the  world  counts  for  something  even  in  the 
honeymoon,  and  Detroit  seemed  a  much  more  hospitable 
place  to  them  both. 

The  plain  little  frame  cottage  in  which  they  made  their 
home  in  Detroit  is  still  standing,  and  is  about  such  as  a 
well-to-do  carpenter  might  build  for  his  own  use.  It 
was,  indeed,  all  that  the  pay  of  a  lieutenant  at  that  time 
warranted.  It  stood  on  the  outskirts  of  the  town,  and 
had  some  vines  clinging  about  it,  and  some  fruit-trees 
grew  in  the  yard.  The  neighbors  were  ordinary  citizens 
of  the  working-man's  condition.  The  officers  who  were 
unmarried  lived  at  the  hotel  in  town,  and  walked  to  and 
fro  to  their  meals,  passing  near  Grant's  house. 

He  took  up  his  quartermaster  duties  at  once,  steady 


as  clockwork;  but  it  was  not  long  before  he  had  another 
driving  horse.  A  French  Canadian  of  the  town,  named 
David  Cicotte,  owned  a  small  and  speedy  mare,  which 
Grant's  keen  eyes  had  observed  and  coveted,  and  which 
he  bought  as  soon  as  his  means  allowed.  This  mare, 
under  Grant's  training,  became  so  speedy  that  he  was 
soon  "  able  to  show  the  back  of  his  buggy  to  almost  any 
thing  in  the  town." 

His  swift  driving  caused  him  to  be  observed  and  re 
membered  by  the  citizens  of  Detroit  far  beyond  any 
other  deed  or  characteristic.  Everybody  knew  Lieu 
tenant  Grant  (and  his  Cicotte  mare)  by  sight.  Otherwise 
his  life  was  very  methodical. 

"  Lieutenant  Grant,  except  for  his  fast  driving,  lived 
inconspicuously."  He  was  considered  an  amiable  and 
inoffensive  little  fellow  by  the  merchants  of  the  town. 
One  went  so  far,  one  day,  as  to  say  that  it  was  very  queer 
business  putting  quartermaster's  work  into  the  hands  of 
such  a  man,  and  one  of  his  fellow- officers  said :  "  He  may 
be  no  good  with  papers,  but  he  's  hell  with  a  regiment." 

"  He  was  boyish,  said  little,  and  always  kept  in  the 
background  except  when  drawing  the  lines  over  the  back 
of  his  horse ;  then  he  led  the  procession.  He  loved  horses  ; 
no  doubt  of  that.  He  used  to  race  Saturdays  'way  out 
on  Fifth  Avenue,  which  was  then  a  foremost  racing- 
ground  for  the  citizens.  On  bright  midwinter  days  every 
driving  team  in  Detroit  would  be  there.  Every  man  who 
had  a  horse  took  part,  and  Grant  was  always  there  with 
his  little  pony  which  he  bought  of  Dave  Cicotte." 

He  was  thoroughly  social,  but  showed  it  in  being  where 
people  were,  rather  than  by  entertaining  them.  Mrs. 
Grant,  however,  loved  company,  and  was  often  a  lively 
figure  at  parties  and  dances.  Grant,  who  never  danced, 
used  to  bring  his  wife  and  afterward  stand  around  look 
ing  on.  Sometimes  he  made  a  hand  at  a  game  of  cards 
with  others  who  did  not  dance.  An  old  friend  said : 

"  I  knew  him  as  well  as  any  one  here  at  that  time, 
probably.  I  met  him  socially  and  officially  and  in  busi 
ness.  He  was  a  gentleman  in  his  habits  and  instincts, 
quiet  and  unobtrusive.  He  took  his  glass  of  liquor  with 

114  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

the  rest  of  us,  but  he  was  noticeable  for  his  domestic 
habits.  He  was  considered  one  of  the  best  officers  in  his 

He  had  a  rather  amusing  set-to  with  a  young  merchant 
of  the  town  named  Zack  Chandler.  The  incident  brought 
his  resolute  character  to  the  notice  of  the  citizens.  The 
young  officers,  on  their  way  to  and  from  the  barracks, 
were  obliged  to  walk  past  Chandler's  lot,  and  they  often 
found  the  snow  and  ice  lying  thick  across  the  path.  They 
grumbled  a  good  deal ;  but  Chandler  was  a  big,  burly 
fellow,  rather  proud  of  his  physical  hardihood,  and  no  one 
was  eager  to  make  complaint  against  him.  At  last  Grant, 
who  knew  no  fear,  volunteered  to  "  bell  the  cat,"  and  with 
no  sign  of  fear  he  entered  complaint  against  Chandler. 

Chandler  brought  the  matter  to  trial  with  voluble 
ferocity,  and  accused  the  officers  of  being  drunk  and  dis 
orderly.  Grant  held  to  his  cause,  however,  and  Chand 
ler  was  fined  for  obstructing  the  walk.  Everybody 
expected  Chandler  to  whip  Grant,  but  he  did  not.  Some 
thing  in  the  quiet  little  man's  glance  informed  him  he 
could  not  safely  do  so.  No  one  has  ever  said  that  Grant 
knew  fear,  or  that  he  ever  acknowledged  himself  whipped. 
He  was  not  a  fighting  man,  but  he  had  a  way  of  keeping 
a  rowdy  at  arm's  length. 

His  only  time  of  trepidation  seemed  to  be  when  called 
upon  to  make  a  speech.  At  a  dinner  given  to  Colonel 
Grayson,  Grant  was  called  on  for  a  toast.  In  noticeable 
tremor,  the  young  officer  rose  and  said,  "  I  can  face  the 
music,  but  I  can't  make  a  speech,"  and  gave  this  senti 
ment:  "The  Grayson  Guards!  should  their  services  be 
required,  may  they  be  rendered  in  proportion  to  the  con 
fidence  placed  in  them  and  their  worthy  commander." 
This  was  neat,  admirable  in  reserve,  and  covered  the 
ground.  As  for  his  ability  to  "  face  the  music,"  every 
man  of  the  Fourth  knew  he  spoke  the  truth.  No  young 
officer  had  a  higher  record  as  a  brave  man.  He  never 
went  further  than  that  phrase  in  praise  of  himself.  In 
June,  1851,  he  left  his  comfortable  quarters  at  Detroit, 
and  returned  to  Sacket's  Harbor. 

West  front  of  fortification  and  barracks,  Fort  Wayne,  Detroit. 

'rom  a  photograph  loaned  by  Captain  E.  D.  Smith  of  the  Fifteenth  Infantry.     The  building  shown  was  erected  in  1848,  t 
r  Grant  first  went  to  Detroit,  and  is  the  only  one  now  standing  at  Fort  Wayne  that  could  have  been  in  existence  when  Gra 


was  stationed  there 

Officers'  barracks,  Sacket's  Harbor,  New  York. 
From  a  photograph  owned  by  Colonel  Walter  13.  Camp. 


It  was  a  dull  life  there  on  the  edge  of  Ontario,  after 
the  little  round  of  possible  gaieties  had  been  traversed  a 
dozen  times.  The  change  of  barracks  did  not  greatly 
change  his  duties.  Grant  transacted  his  duties  promptly 
and  well  each  day,  and  formed  a  silent  member  of  all 
meetings  of  the  officers.  In  the  mess-room  he  was  con 
sidered  a  good  fellow,  but  a  little  slow  as  a  companion. 
He  talked  a  good  deal  of  the  Mexican  War,  however,  and 
at  such  times  grew  very  earnest  and  graphic,  and  im 
pressed  others  with  his  power  to  present  in  an  orderly 
way  his  conception  of  the  campaigns.  His  companions 
often  said  he  gave  the  clearest  account  of  the  Mexican 
War  they  had  ever  heard. 

He  went  out  socially  very  little,  though  the  officers 
often  dropped  in  to  enjoy  the  cozy  home  Mrs.  Grant  had 
conjured  out  of  very  plain  barrack  rooms.  As  a  con 
siderate  husband,  a  good  citizen,  and  a  faithful  officer  he 
spent  some  six  months  in  the  post.  He  was  comfortable 
and  happy,  but  he  had  scarcely  resigned  himself  to  the 
life  of  a  soldier.  He  was  getting  nowhere ;  he  was  merely 
dozing  in  a  snug  corner.  Beneath  his  quiet  manner  his 
companions,  the  more  discerning  of  them,  saw  in  him  a 
"  restless,  energetic  man." 

But  a  change  came  into  his  quiet  life.  An  order  ar 
rived  transferring  him  to  the  Pacific  coast,  which  v  as 
almost  as  far  away  as  Africa  is  to-day.  He  faced  here 
the  question  of  a  soldier's  life  in  a  new  fashion.  He  had 
developed  no  special  love  for  the  army,  though  he  had 
ceased  actively  to  plan  getting  out  of  it.  This  order 
brought  up  again  the  impulse  to  resign  and  go  into  some 
thing  else.  He  had  those  moments  of  profound  thought 
which  marked  him  at  West  Point,  and  in  his  face  the  care 
of  a  man  and  a  father  had  begun  to  write  its  lines.  He 
seriously  meditated  resigning  at  that  time. 

It  was  out  of  the  question  to  think  of  taking  his  wife 
with  him  on  the  long  and  dangerous  trip  across  the 
Isthmus.  His  oldest  child,  named  Frederick  Dent  Grant, 
was  nearly  two  years  of  age.  And  so  with  great  reluc 
tance  and  in  deep  depression  he  left  Sacket's  Harbor  for 


the  coast,  while  Mrs.  Grant  returned  to  the  home  of  Jesse 
Grant  in  Bethel,  where  her  second  child  was  born.  Under 
the  circumstances,  it  was  impossible  for  Mrs.  Grant  to  go 
with  her  husband,  and  the  bitter  sorrow  of  parting  from 
his  little  son  and  his  wife  (soon  to  be  a  mother  a  second 
time)  brought  the  stern  realities  of  a  soldier's  life  very 
close  to  Lieutenant  Grant. 



THE  Fourth  Infantry  assembled  at  Governor's  Island, 
New  York  Bay,  and  thence  took  ship  for  the  Isth 
mus.  The  steamer  Ohio  was  in  command  of  Captain 
Schenck,  who  was  able  afterward  to  recall  the  young 

"  Major  Bonnevelle  was  in  command,  and  Grant  was 
quartermaster.  For  the  first  week  I  did  not  have  much 
to  say  to  him.  He  was  then  a  quiet,  undemonstrative 
man,  and  took  matters  just  as  they  came  without  com 
ment,  though  when  called  upon  he  never  seemed  to  be  at 
a  loss  for  an  opinion  and  a  good  reason  to  back  it.  Bonne 
velle  was  hasty  and  uncertain  in  his  action,  and  gave 
cause  for  disagreements,  and  it  was  a  customary  practice 
to  refer  these  disputes  to  Grant  as  arbitrator.  His  rulings 
were  distinguished  by  particular  good  sense. 

"He  was  accustomed  to  walk  the  deck  late  at  night, 
and  so  we  came  at  last  to  walk  up  and  down  the  deck, 
discussing  such  matters  as  came  up  from  time  to  time. 
He  seemed  to  me  to  be  a  man  of  an  uncommon  order  of 
intelligence.  He  had  a  good  education,  and  what  his 
mind  took  hold  of  it  grasped  strongly  and  thoroughly 

Nothing  which  the  young  soldier  had  ever  done  sur 
passed  the  energy,  resource,  coolness,  and  daring  of  cross 
ing  the  Isthmus.  It  was  equal  to  a  campaign  against  a 
foreign  foe.  It  was  a  fight  against  fever,  cholera,  poison 
ous  plants,  bad  water,  inefficient  labor,  and  insubordinate 
soldiery.  As  quartermaster  he  was  forced  to  take  the 


Il8  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

brunt  of  all  shortcomings  in  transportation  and  all  com 
plaints  concerning  supplies. 

It  was  a  perilous  time  of  year  to  attempt  such  a  pas 
sage,  but  that  made  little  difference  to  the  authorities  in 
Washington.  Quartermaster  Grant,  luckily,  was  experi 
enced  in  the  care  of  men  in  tropical  climates,  and  was 
prepared  for  the  worst.  The  Ohio  delivered  its  freight  at 
Aspinwall,  and  let  loose  a  swarm  of  gold-seekers  as  well, 
as  soldiers.  The  heat  was  appalling,  and  Grant  was  sleep- 
lessly  active  in  getting  his  charges  out  of  the  low-lying 
port  at  once.  All  was  confusion.  The  town  of  Aspinwall 
had  sprung  up  since  the  beginning  of  the  gold  excitement, 
and  had  scarcely  acquired  law,  and  certainly  was  without 

The  railway  was  completed  only  to  the  Chagres  River, 
eighteen  miles  away.  The  steamship  company  had  con 
tracted  with  the  government  to  take  the  troops  across  the 
Isthmus,  but  when  they  arrived  at  Chagres,  Quartermaster 
Grant  found  that  no  mules  had  been  provided  by  the  agent 
of  the  company,  and  that  in  the  rush  it  was  really  impos 
sible  to  secure  any.  The  agent  was  supine  and  lifeless 
in  the  business,  and  Grant  was  forced  to  take  charge  of 
the  whole  movement. 

The  regiment  marched  directly  toward  Panama,  while 
the  band  and  the  officers'  wives,  accompanied  by  Quarter 
master  Grant,  went  down  the  river  toward  Cruces.  Upon 
arriving  at  Cruces,  he  found  the  agent  of  the  transporta 
tion  company  unable  to  comply  with  his  engagement. 

This  threw  upon  the  young  quartermaster  the  entire 
responsibility  of  transporting  his  passengers  and  the  regi 
mental  baggage,  and  tested  his  energy  and  his  practical 
experience  as  severely  as  any  campaign  in  which  he  had 
been  engaged.  He  grappled  with  the  problem  with 
undaunted  courage. 

At  last  he  got  his  heterogeneous  cavalcade  in  motion. 
The  wives  of  the  officers  he  started  at  once  toward  the 
western  port,  for  the  cholera  was  in  Cruces.  The  others 
he  put  under  way  a  few  days  later.  He  himself  stayed 
behind  to  attend  to  the  stores.  He  took  care  of  the 
health  of  the  soldiers  and  of  everybody  in  the  company. 


His  position  was  very  hard,  and  at  one  time  everything 
seemed  to  depend  upon  his  personal  energy.  One  disaster 
followed  another.  No  sooner  were  the  passengers  brought 
safely  across  the  Isthmus  than  the  cholera  broke  out  on 
shipboard.  More  than  one  hundred  and  fifty  men  died 
of  it,  thirty-seven  in  one  day,  among  them  Major  J.  H. 
Gore,  with  whom  Grant  had  been  most  intimately  asso 
ciated  in  Mexico  and  in  Detroit.  The  passengers  were 
panic-stricken,  and  the  men,  appalled  at  their  new  foe, 
muttered  alarm  and  wrath.  In  the  midst  of  all  the  con 
fusion  and  fear,  which  amounted  to  frenzy,  Quartermaster 
Grant  remained  cool,  resolute,  watchful,  and  sympathetic. 
Nothing  could  flurry  him  or  anger  him  or  make  him 

He  had  heavy  responsibility  on  his  hands.  It  was  his 
duty  to  provide  hospital  facilities  and  medicinal  supplies, 
and  also  to  see  to  the  disposal  of  the  dead ;  but  he  did 
these  things  with  as  much  system  as  though  he  had  been 
quartered  at  Detroit.  There  were  from  fifty  to  sixty 
dangerously  sick  people  on  board  all  the  time,  with 
twelve  or  fifteen  of  them  dying  daily,  and  with  only  a 
ship's  deck  to  take  care  of  them  on.  "  Grant  seemed  to 
be  a  man  of  iron,  so  far  as  endurance  went,  seldom  sleep 
ing,  and  then  only  two  or  three  hours  at  a  time.  Never 
theless,  his  work  was  always  done,  and  his  supplies  always 
ample  and  at  hand.  He  seemed  to  take  a  personal  interest 
in  each  sick  man ;  and  when  one  considers  the  situation, 
the  hospital  accommodations  he  provided  were  wonderful. 
He  was  like  a  ministering  angel  to  us  all,"  said  one  who 
passed  through  this  terrifying  trip. 

The  captain  of  the  Golden  Gate  was  also  a  man  of  de 
cision  and  character,  and  an  officer  of  wide  experience  in 
the  treatment  of  Asiatic  cholera.  He  refused  to  sail  until 
all  the  passengers  had  been  landed  and  all  clothing  fumi 
gated  and  the  ship  thoroughly  overhauled.  These  vigor 
ous  measures  put  an  end  to  the  plague,  and  the  Golden 
Gate  passed  on  her  way  to  San  Francisco  without  further 

Upon  arrival  in  San  Francisco  Bay,  a  camp  was  estab 
lished  at  Benicia,  which  was  but  a  short  distance  out  of 



San  Francisco,  and  the  regiment  stayed  several  weeks  in 
this  camp,  waiting  for  a  steamer  to  take  it  to  Oregon.  In 
the  early  autumn  it  reached  permanent  quarters  at  Qo?. 
lumbia  Barracks,  a  post  on  the  Columbia  River  not  far 
from  the  site  of  the  present  city  of  Portland,  which  was  at 
that  time  a  small  settlement  of  woodsmen.  The  buildings 
of  the  post  had  been  erected  by  Grant's  friend  and  room 
mate,  Rufus  Ingalls.  It  consisted  of  a  number  of  rudely 
and  hastily  constructed  log  houses.  The  houses,  furni 
ture,  and  fixtureware  were  all  made  out  of  green  wood 
with  the  ax.  The  surrounding  country  was  a  wilderness, 
peopled,  where  it  was  settled  at  all,  by  Indians  or  whites 
of  the  rough-and-ready  frontier  type.  The  few  manu 
factured  articles  in  use  were  brought  around  the  Horn 
in  sailing-vessels,  or  across  the  plains  and  mountains  in 

The  records  of  the  post  show  that  Grant,  in  spite  of  all 
discouragements,  performed  his  duties  as  quartermaster 
faithfully  and  well.  He  built  houses,  repaired  wagons, 
and  fitted  out  expeditions.  Under  this  last  head  it  is 
recorded  that  in  July,  1853,  he  supplied  Captain  George 
B.  McClellan  with  transportation  and  all  things  needful 
for  the  first  survey  of  the  Northern  Pacific  Railway. 

He  was  kind  and  quiet,  but  could  not  be  imposed  upon. 
He  was  quick  and  resolute  of  action,  when  necessary. 
Once  when  a  drunken  purser  of  a  steamboat  was  dis 
turbing  the  audience  at  the  little  theater  at  the  post,  Grant 
made  his  way  to  the  ruffian,  seized  him  by  the  collar,  and 
put  him  out  with  deftness  and  despatch.  No  man  pre 
sumed  to  dispute  his  orders,  small  as  he  seemed.  He 
was  a  good  soldier,  and  loved  order  and  good  discipline. 



EEUTENANT  GRANT  served  just  one  year  at  Fort 
Vancouver.  During  this  time  he  lived  and  messed 
with  his  West  Point  room-mate,  Rufus  Ingalls,  who  was 
stationed  there  as  depot  quartermaster.  Horseback-riding 
was  the  chief  diversion  of  both  Grant  and  Ingalls.  They 
kept  a  pair  of  horses  on  the  south  bank  of  the  Columbia, 
opposite  the  post,  and  when  life  grew  insupportable  at 
the  fort  "  they  sometimes  crossed  the  river,  and  rode  on 
horseback  to  Oregon  City,  twenty  miles  up  the  Wil 
lamette.  Portland  was  then  too  unimportant  to  attract 
their  attention." 

It  was  a  dull  and  dreary  year  to  the  young  soldier. 
The  routine  of  an  army  post  is  the  same  everywhere,  no 
matter  how  its  surroundings  may  vary.  Oregon  at  that 
time  was  a  wilderness,  and  a  gloomy  wilderness  in  winter 
time.  For  six  months  of  the  year  it  is  a  land  of  rain,  of 
moss,  of  dripping  trees.  The  mists  rise  from  the  warm 
sea,  float  inward,  break  against  the  Cascade  Range  of  moun 
tains,  and  fall  in  unending  torrents  over  the  steaming  earth. 
There  are  weeks  when  the  sun  is  scarcely  felt,  when  the 
glorious  mountains  are  hidden,  and  the  world  is  of  the 
color  of  gray  moss  and  falling  rain. 

Grant  did  his  duties  and  carried  himself  with  his  usual 
quiet  dignity,  but  he  was  unusually  silent  and  grave.  He 
had  not  the  careless  nature  which  makes  light  of  such  a 
situation,  although  he  was  never  a  man  to  complain.  He 
had  few  intimate  friends,  and  no  enemies. 

How  deeply  he  felt  this  separation  from  his  wife  and 

122  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

his  two  little  sons  will  never  be  known,  but  the  memory 
of  an  old  artillery  sergeant  holds  one  revealing  incident. 

He  had  procured  for  the  sergeant  a  position  as  agent 
of  the  United  States  Ordnance  Department,  and  on  the 
morning  after  the  mail  which  brought  the  commission, 
Grant  "  happened  by "  the  sergeant's  little  cottage  to 
witness  and  enjoy  his  delight.  When  about  to  leave,  he 
said:  "  Oh,  I,  too,  had  a  letter  last  night "  ;  thereupon  he 
drew  from  his  pocket  a  letter,  and  opened  it  out.  He 
did  not  read  it  to  the  sergeant,  but  showed  him  the  last 
page,  whereon  his  wife  had  laid  his  baby's  hand  and  traced 
the  outlines  with  a  pencil  to  show  its  size.  He  folded  the 
letter  quickly,  and  left  without  speaking  a  word ;  but  his 
form  shook,  and  his  eyes  were  wet. 

He  received  few  letters.  There  was  a  period  of  several 
months,  after  leaving  New  York,  during  which  he  was  cut 
off  from  all  news  of  his  wife,  and  this  at  a  time  when  his 
anxiety  was  peculiarly  intense ;  and  yet  he  uttered  no 
complaint,  and  was  always  mindful  of  others.  He  secured 
an  appointment  for  Sergeant  Eckerson,  and  helped  Drum- 
Major  Elderkin  and  his  wife  to  make  a  home  in  the  post. 
Beneath  his  impassive  exterior  he  was  known  to  be  ten 
derly  sympathetic  to  all  need  and  suffering  in  others. 
Those  who  saw  him  daily  while  he  was  stationed  at  Van 
couver  state  that  he  carried  himself  with  dignity,  and  was 
highly  respected  by  the  garrison. 

"  He  used  to  ride  up  to  Drum-Major  Elderkin's  house 
almost  every  morning,  and  say,  '  Good  morning,'  and 
gallop  off  into  the  woods.  He  took  great  interest  in  the 
little  family  of  the  drum-major,  and  helped  them  in  any 
way  possible.  His  habits  were  very  regular.  He  was 
one  of  the  kindest  and  best  men  I  ever  knew.  He  seemed 
to  be  always  sad ;  that  is,  he  never  seemed  jovial  and 
hearty,  like  most  of  the  officers.  I  thought  him  a  very 
active  man,  and  a  thorough  soldier;  that  is  the  impression 
he  made  on  me.  I  loved  him,  for  he  was  always  kind  to 
me,  and  always  just." 

He  felt  the  separation  from  his  family  the  more  for 
being  naturally  domestic  of  habit.  His  wife  and  children 
occupied  much  of  his  thoughts  when  off  duty.  Coarse 

The  house  in  which  Grant  lived  at  Fort  Vancouver  in  1852  and  1853. 
Redrawn  from  a  photograph  loaned  by  Colonel  Thomas  M.  Anderson,  present  commandant  of  Fort  Vancouver. 

Fort  Vancouver. 
Redrawn  from  a  painting  by  Dr.  Covington,  now  owned  by  Captain  James  A.  Buchanan  of  the  Eleventh  Infantry. 


stories,  profanity,  roistering — all  those  things,  which  some 
of  his  brother  officers  found  entertaining,  were  distasteful 
to  him. 

The  winter  dragged  slowly  on,  and  he  began  to  plan  a 
summer  campaign.  He  felt  the  necessity  of  doing  some 
thing,  not  merely  because  he  knew  he  would  be  the  better 
for  it  himself,  but  also  because  he  hoped  to  make  money 
enough  to  enable  him  to  send  for  his  family.  He  looked 
about  for  something  which  he  could  engage  in  without 
interfering  with  his  duties  at  the  post.  There  was  nothing 
to  do  but  go  back  to  the  employment  of  his  boyhood ;  he 
determined  to  farm. 

The  opportunities  were  ample  and  the  prospect  alluring. 
"  Potatoes  were  worth  eight  or  nine  dollars  a  bushel ;  and 
Grant,  taking  Lieutenant  Wallen  into  partnership,  deter 
mined  to  go  into  a  potato  speculation.  Together  they 
rented  a  piece  of  ground  from  the  Hudson  Bay  Com 
pany,  and  bought  a  team  from  an  emigrant,  and  set  to 
work  to  plow  and  plant  the  ground.  They  planted  a 
large  patch,  and  raised  a  famous  crop  of  fine  potatoes; 
but  every  one  else  seemed  to  have  raised  potatoes  also, 
and  the  crop  could  not  be  sold  at  any  price.  The  per 
plexed  farmers  had  finally  to  pay  some  of  their  neighbors 
to  haul  the  potatoes  away  out  of  a  magazine  that  was 
borrowed  from  the  commandant  of  the  post!"  The  crop 
was  ultimately  a  nuisance. 

Grant  says,  in  addition,  that  the  gray  old  Columbia 
swept  over  the  field  in  the  autumn,  and  carried  a  large 
part  of  the  crop  out  to  sea.  However,  it  saved  the  trouble 
of  digging  them. 

He  also  went  into  a  partnership  with  Rufus  Ingalls  to 
cut  and  ship  ice  to  San  Francisco.  This,  it  is  related, 
came  to  nothing.  Adverse  winds  held  the  brig  back  till 
some  ships  from  Sitka  unloaded  their  cargoes  on  the 
market,  and  ice  was  of  no  great  value.  He  next  became 
interested  in  buying  cattle  and  hogs  and  shipping  them  to 
San  Francisco. 

"  We  continued  this  business,"  said  his  partner,  "  until 
both  of  us  lost  all  the  money  we  had.  He  was  the  per 
fect  soul  of  honor  and  truth,  and  believed  every  one  as 

124  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

artless  as  himself.  I  never  knew  a  stronger  or  better 

In  August,  1853,  he  was  promoted  to  a  full  captaincy, 
and  ordered  to  Fort  Humboldt  to  fill  a  vacancy  caused 
by  the  death  of  Captain  Bliss,  famous  as  General  Taylor's 
adjutant  in  the  Mexican  War.  "  Early  in  October  Cap 
tain  Grant  started  for  Fort  Humboldt,  California,  to  take 
command  of  his  company.  .  .  .  The  post  was  two  hun 
dred  and  forty  miles  north  of  San  Francisco,  and  the 
buildings  stood  on  a  plateau  affording  a  splendid  view  of 
Humboldt  Bay.  The  only  town  in  the  vicinity  was 
Eureka,  which  contained  but  a  sawmill  and  twenty 

"  Communication  with  San  Francisco  was  solely  by 
water,  and  mails  were  very  irregular.  The  officers  looked 
out  anxiously  every  morning  for  a  sail,  and,  when  one 
appeared,  galloped  down  to  Eureka  for-  their  letters  or  a 
stray  newspaper. 

"  The  line  captain's  duties  were  less  onerous  than  the 
quartermaster's  had  been,  and  the  discipline  was  far  more 
rigid  and  irksome.  No  greater  misfortune  could  have 
happened  to  Captain  Grant  than  this  enforced  idleness." 

He  had  little  work  to  occupy  his  time,  he  was  far 
separated — hopelessly  separated — from  his  family,  and 
had  an  uncongenial  commander  in  Colonel  Buchanan. 
He  took  little  interest  in  the  dancing,  hunting,  fishing, 
and  other  diversions  of  the  officers,  and,  above  all,  the 
futility  of  the  whole  life  weighed  upon  him. 

"  The  result  was  a  common  one :  he  took  to  drink." 

He  had  learned  the  use  of  liquor  in  the  Mexican  War, 
along  with  smoking  and  chewing  tobacco,  but  up  to  this 
time  there  is  little  reliable  evidence  of  excess  in  its  use. 

Even  now,  at  Fort  Humboldt,  "  he  drank  much  less 
than  other  officers  whose  reputation  for  temperance  was 
unsullied ;  but  with  his  peculiar  organization  a  little  did 
the  fatal  work  of  a  great  deal."  A  single  glass  of  liquor 
visibly  affected  him.  "  He  was  guilty  of  no  gross  inde 
corum  or  misdeed,  but  he  fell  so  far  under  the  influence 
of  his  insidious  love  for  it  that  he  was  told  to  place  his 
resignation  in  the  hands  of  the  commandant,  to  be  for- 


warded  to  Washington  at  the  first  repetition  of  the 
offense.  It  was  a  notice  to  '  reform  or  resign.'  He 
said,  '  I  will  resign  and  reform.'  He  sent  in  his  resigna 
tion,  to  take  effect  July  31,  1854."* 

According  to  the  records  of  the  adjutant- general's 
office,  Captain  Grant  accepted  his  commission  and  sent 
in  his  resignation  on  the  same  day.  This  would  seem  to 


The  following  papers  are  every  line  on  file  in  the  adjutant-general's  office 
at  Washington,  concerning  the  resignation  of  U.  S.  Grant  from  the  army  in 
1854.  These  papers  were  copied  in  the  immediate  presence  of  General 
Ruggles.  the  adjutant-general,  in  February,  1897. 

Grant  acknowledges  his  commission  April  u,  1854: 

"  COLONEL  S.  COOPER:  I  have  the  honor  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of 
my  commission  as  captain  in  the  4th  Infantry,  and  my  acceptance  of  the 
same.  I  am,  Colonel, 

"  Very  respectfully,  your  obt.  servt., 

"  U.  S.  GRANT, 
"  Capt.  4th  Infantry." 

On  the  same  day  he  wrote  the  following  letter : 

"April  ii,  1854. 

"COLONEL:  I  very  respectfully  tender  my  resignation  of  my  commission 
as  an  officer  of  the  army  and  request  that  it  may  take  effect  from  the  3 1st 
July  next.  I  am,  Colonel, 

"  Very  respectfully,  your  obt.  servt., 

"  U.  S.  GRANT, 
"  Capt.  4th  Infantry. 

On  the  back  of  this  is  the  following  indorsement  in  Grant's  own  hand 
writing  : 

"FT.  HUMBOLDT,  April  u,  1854. 
"  Capt.  U.  S.  GRANT, 

"  4th  Infantry. 

"  Respectfully  forwarded  with  the  recommendation  that  it  be  accepted. 

"  Brevet  Lt.  Col. 
"Capt.  4th  Infantry,  Commanding  Headquarters  Detachment. 

"  FT.  HUMBOLDT,  CAL.,  Apl.  n,  1854. 
"  Received  Headquarters  May  20,  1854. 


"SAN  FRANCISCO,  Apl.  22,  1854. 
"Approved  and  respectfully  forwarded. 

"  JOHN  E.  WOOL, 
"  Major-General. 

126  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

give  color  to  the  story  that  Colonel  Buchanan  forced  his 
resignation.  Other  than  the  mere  coincidence  in  the  date, 
there  is  not  one  line  on  file  in  the  War  Department  to 
indicate  why  he  resigned  or  what'  his  motives  were.  His 
father  wrote  at  once,  upon  the  official  announcement,  to 
inquire  of  Jefferson  Davis,  the  Secretary  of  War,  if  it 
were  true  that  his  son  had  resigned,  and  asking  why  he 
had  resigned.*  To  this  the  department  replied,  inclosing 

"  NEW  YORK,  2oth  May,  1854. 
"  Respectfully  forwarded  by  command  of  Major-General  Scott. 

"(Signed)     IRWIN  McDowELL. 

"It  is  respectfully  recommended  that  Captain  Grant's  resignation  be 
accepted  to  take  effect  as  tendered  July  31,  1854.  The  enclosed  paper  dated 
May  29,  shows  the  state  of  Capt.  Grant's  accounts  with  the  Treasury. 

"  ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S  OFFICE,  May  30,  1854. 
"  S.  COOPER,  Adjutant-General." 

And  the  final  indorsement  has  a  peculiar  historical  interest : 
"Accepted  as  tendered. 


"  Secretary  of  War. 
"June  2,  1854." 

The  paper  mentioned  stated  that  Captain  Grant's  accounts  were  entirely 
in  order,  and  that  he  owed  the  government  nothing,  and  there  was  no  fault 
to  find  with  his  management  of  affairs  as  quartermaster. 

It  will  thus  be  seen  that  Captain  Grant  not  only  went  out  of  the  service 
with  his  accounts  in  order,  but  that  no  hint  of  his  reasons  for  leaving  the 
service  appears  in  the  adjutant-general's  office.  Nothing  stands  against 
his  good  name  in  the  office  of  the  adjutant-general  of  the  United  States  army. 

*  "  BETHEL,  CLAREMONT  COUNTY,  June  i,  1854. 

"DEAR  SIR:  Your  letter  of  the  7th  instant  enclosing  acceptance  of  the 
resignation  of  my  son  Captain  U.  S.  Grant,  was  received  a  few  days  ago 
through  Thomas  A.  Ellyson.  That  was  the  first  intimation  I  had  of  his 
intention  to  resign. 

"If  it  is  consistent  with  your  powers  and  the  good  of  the  servis  I  will  be 
much  gratified  if  you  would  reconsider  and  withdraw  the  acceptance  of  his 
resignation  and  grant  him  a  six  months  leave  that  he  may  come  home  and 
see  his  family. 

"  I  never  wished  him  to  leave  the  servis.  I  think  after  spending  so  much 
time  to  qualify  himself  for  the  army  and  spending  so  many  years  in  the  servis 
he  will  be  poorly  qualified  for  the  pursuits  of  private  life. 

"  He  has  been  eleven  years  an  officer,  was  in  all  the  battles  of  Generals 
Taylors  and  Scotts  except  Buena  Vista,  never  absent  from  his  posts  during 
the  Mexican  War  and  has  never  had  a  leave  of  six  months,  would  it  then  be 
asking  too  much  for  him  to  have  such  leave  that  he  may  come  home  and 
make  arrangements  for  taking  his  family  with  him  to  his  post. 


Grant's  acceptance,  saying  that  the  department  was  not 
informed  of  Captain  Grant's  motives. 

According  to  another  account,  furnished  by  Colonel 
Thomas  Anderson,  the  present  commandant  at  Fort 
Vancouver,  Rufus  Ingalls,  Captain  Grant's  most  intimate 
friend,  said :  "  Captain  Grant,  finding  himself  in  dreary 
surroundings,  without  his  family,  and  with  but  little  to 
occupy  his  attention,  fell  into  dissipated  habits,  and  was 
found,  one  day,  too  much  under  the  influence  of  liquor  to 
properly  perform  his  duties.  For  this  offense  Colonel 
Buchanan  demanded  that  he  should  resign,  or  stand  trial. 
Grant's  friends  at  the  time  urged  him  to  stand  trial,  and 
were  confident  of  his  acquittal ;  but,  actuated  by  a  noble 
spirit,  he  said  he  would  not  for  all  the  world  have  his  wife 
know  that  he  had  been  tried  on  such  a  charge.  He  there 
fore  resigned  his  commission,  and  returned  to  civil  life." 

Steadily,  silently,  there  had  crept  i-nto  his  brain  a 
craving  for  stimulants  which  had  mastered  him.  It  was 
an  appetite,  and  not  a  dissipation.  According  to  reliable 
testimony,  he  remained  the  same  clean-spoken,  consider 
ate,  and  honorable  gentleman  through  it  all.  His  habit 
of  drink  did  not  touch  upon  the  inner  sweetness  and 
purity  of  the  man's  nature,  but  it  occasionally  mastered 

"  I  will  remark  that  he  has  not  seen  his  family  for  over  two  years  and  has 
a  son  nearly  two  years'  old  he  has  never  seen.  I  suppose  in  his  great  anxiety 
to  see  his  family  he  has  been  ordered  to  quit  the  servis. 

"  Please  write  me  and  let  me  know  the  results  of  this  request  and, 

"  Respectfully,  your  obt.  servt., 

"J.  R.  GRANT." 

On  the  back  of  this  appears  the  following  indorsements  : 

"  Capt.  Grant's  tender  of  resignation  assigns  no  reason  for  his  wish  to 
leave  the  service  and  the  motives  which  influenced  him  to  take  the  step  are 
not  known;  he  merely  desired  that  the  resignation  should  take  effect  July  31, 
1854,  and  it  was  accepted  accordingly  by  the  Secretary  of  War,  June  2,  and 
the  notification  sent  out  to  the  army  same  day. 

"  Respectfully  submitted, 

"  W.  G.  FREEMAN, 
"Acting  Adjutant-General. 
"June  27,  1854."        , 

Below  this  appears,  in  the  handwriting  of  Jefferson  Davis,  the  final 
indorsement : 

"  Answer  with  endorsement.  "  J.  D." 

128  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

him,  and  suddenly  he  became  aware  that  men  considered 
him  a  drunkard.  As  far  back  as  his  first  stay  in  Sacket's 
Harbor  he  had  known  his  danger,  and  had  fought  against 
his  enemy. 

The  resignation  came  when  he  was  ill  prepared  for  it. 
Unlucky  speculations  had  left  him  with  but  little  ready 
money,  and  the  little  he  had  saved  was  in  the  hands  of 
elusive  debtors.  There  were  all  the  elements  of  tragedy 
in  the  life  of  the  young  soldier  at  this  time,  when,  upon 
arrival  in  San  Francisco,  he  found  one  debtor  away  and 
the  other  unable  or  unwilling  to  pay.  He  was  left  abso 
lutely  without  a  dollar. 

This  final  disappointment  plunged  him  into  dejection 
which  was  almost  despair.  He  had  no  money,  and  his 
name  was  the  subject  of  ill  remark.  Not  one  of  those  he 
had  helped  seemed  ready  to  help  him,  now  that  he  needed 
aid  worse  than  ever  before  in  his  life.  In  such  condition 
he  walked  the  streets  of  San  Francisco. 

Up  to  this  moment  his  life  had  been  without  keen  dis 
appointment  or  sorrow.  He  had  gone  steadily  and  satis 
factorily  from  cadet  to  lieutenant,  and  from  lieutenant  to 
captain.  But  now  came  days  which  set  ineffaceable  lines 
of  gravity  and  care  upon  his  face.  His  youth  was  past, 
and  he  was  facing  unsettled  middle  life  with  no  trade  or 
profession  by  which  to  earn  a  living  for  himself  and  those 
dependent  upon  him.  At  this  time  his  friends  pitied  him 
and  his  acquaintances  avoided  him. 

Robert  Allen,  chief  quartermaster  of  the  coast,  heard 
some  men  talking  of  him,  and  in  that  way  learned  of  his 
presence  in  San  Francisco.  He  set  forth  to  find  him,  for 
he  liked  him,  as  did  every  one  who  really  knew  him. 

"  He  found  him,  at  last,  in  a  cheap  little  miners'  hotel 
called  the  'What  Cheer  House.'  Grant  was  up  in  a  little 
garret  room  which  contained  only  a  small  cot,  a  pine  table, 
and  one  chair. 

"  There  he  sat,  a  young  man  of  thirty-two,  in  utter 
misery.  His  head  was  bowed,  and  as  his  friend  entered 
he  lifted  a  haggard  and  sorrowful  face. 

"  '  Why,  Grant,  what  are  you  doing  here  ?  '  asked  Allen 
of  the  shattered,  gloomy  young  man. 


"  '  Nothing,'  he  replied.  '  I  've  resigned  from  the  army. 
I  'm  out  of  money,  and  I  have  no  means  of  getting  home/ 

" '  Well/  said  Allen,  at  once,  1 1  can  arrange  for  your 
transportation  without  trouble,  and  I  guess  we  can  raise 
some  money  for  you.' 

"  He  took  hold  of  the  matter  vigorously,  and  through 
him  Grant  procured  transportation  to  New  York,  and 
money  enough  to  pay  for  his  daily  needs." 

He  reached  New  York  forlorn  and  practically  penniless. 
He  had  just  money  enough  to  carry  him  to  Watertown, 
where  he  hired  a  horse  and  rode  to  Sacket's  Harbor.  One 
of  his  recreant  debtors  lived  there,  and  from  him  Grant 
expected  to  extract  some  money.  He  failed  to  obtain 
even  an  interview,  and  returned  to  New  York  in  worse 
condition  than  ever.  Some  days  later  he  called  upon  his 
old  classmate,  Captain  Simon  B.  Buckner,  who  was  recruit 
ing  officer  in  New  York  City,  and  confided  to  him  his 
distress.  He  had  written  for  money,  but  had  not  heard  a 
word,  and  his  money  was  gone.  Captain  Buckner  became 
security  for  his  hotel  bill  during  his  stay  in  New  York. 
He  wrote  again  to  the  West  for  money,  and  at  last  re 
ceived  enough  to  enable  him  to  reach  his  father's  home. 
It  is  claimed  that  before  he  left  New  York  several  of  his 
old  comrades  on  Governor's  Island  made  up  a  purse  of 
fifty  dollars  to  help  him  clear  himself  of  all  bills. 

There  was  little  joy  in  the  home-coming.  If  reputable 
neighbors  are  to  be  believed,  Jesse  Grant  received  him 
grimly.  He  was  deeply  humiliated  by  this  untoward 
return  of  his  eldest  son.  It  seemed  to  falsify  all  the 
omens  and  prophecies  of  which  he  had  boasted  in  years 
gone  by.  At  this  moment  he  saw  nothing  further  to  hope 
for  in  honor  of  his  son  Ulysses,  and  he  turned  away  to 
Simpson  and  Orvil.  They  were  to  uphold  the  honor  and 
credit  of  the  Grant  house.  "  West  Point  spoiled  one  of 
my  boys  for  business,"  he  said,  and  Ulysses  replied:  "I 
guess  that  's  about  so." 

The  gentle  mother,  on  the  contrary,  was  glad  to  see 
him  out  of  the  service.  She  seemed  to  understand  the 
dangers  and  temptations  of  a  soldier's  life  in  barracks,  and 
found  deep  relief  in  his  return  to  civil  life  and  to  his  family. 

130  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

After  a  short  time  spent  with  his  parents  in  regaining 
health  and  good  cheer,  the  ex-captain  took  his  way  to  St. 
Louis  to  his  wife  and  children.  This  was  in  the  late 
summer  of  1854,  and  he  was  thirty-two  years  of  age.  In 
this  one  thing  was  hope :  he  had  found  out  his  worst 
enemy  and  his  most  marked  weakness,  and  was  prepared 
to  do  battle,  and  resolved  to  conquer  this  enemy  within 
the  gates,  if  it  took  a  lifetime. 



found  St.  Louis  and  Georgetown  much  the 
same  as  when  he  had  last  visited  Missouri.  The  city 
was  a  little  larger,  the  clearings  on  the  Gravois  a  little  more 
numerous,  and  the  fields  a  little  wider;  that  was  all. 
Colonel  Dent  still  owned  White  Haven,  and  was  living 
there  at  the  time  his  son-in-law  returned. 

That  autumn  and  winter  Captain  Grant  (as  the  neigh 
bors  at  once  called  him)  lived  at  the  Dent  homestead,  and 
took  a  hand  in  anything  which  needed  to  be  done  about 
the  place.  The  welcome  extended  to  him  by  Colonel 
Dent  could  not  be  expected  to  be  warmer  than  that  of 
his  own  father,  but  he  at  least  gave  Ulysses  a  place  under 
his  roof.  Probably  it  was  some  time  during  this  winter 
that  Dent  set  aside  some  sixty  or  eighty  acres  of  land  for 
Mrs.  Grant,  and  told  Captain  Grant  to  make  such  home 
upon  it  as  he  could.  No  deed  is  on  record  ;  it  was  merely 
a  verbal  transfer. 

The  task  to  which  Captain  Grant  then  set  himself  was 
not  an  easy  one :  it  was  to  start  from  the  stump  at  thirty- 
two  years  of  age.  Abraham  Lincoln  rose  out  of  humbler 
conditions,  but  he  had  no  trial  more  difficult  than  Grant's 
return  to  severe  manual  labor  after  having  been  fifteen 
years  accustomed  to  the  routine  and  security  of  army 
life.  He  began  at  the  bottom,  as  a  laborer,  without 
money,  tools,  or  horses.  He  was  among  strangers,  and 
estranged  from  his  father  and  brothers,  who  regarded  him, 
at  the  best,  as  criminally  improvident. 

Jesse  Grant,  apparently,  left  Ulysses  for  a  time  to  his 

132  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

own  resources.  He  had  the  reputation  among  his  neigh 
bors  of  being  a  hard  man  and  a  close  man,  though  a  just 
one.  Again  and  again  he  had  helped  his  son  until  his 
patience  had  at  last  given  out,  and  Ulysses  was  forced  to 
look  elsewhere  for  aid  in  his  hard  task  of  hewing  a  home 
out  of  the  forest. 

However,  these  favorable  coincidences  are  to  be  no 
ticed  :  He  was  returning  to  his  boyhood  occupation  in  a 
land  almost  identical  in  character  with  that  of  Brown 
County,  Ohio.  Its  climate,  soil,  and  products  were  quite 
the  same,  and  his  experience  as  a  farm-boy  in  George 
town  served  him  in  good  stead.  It  was,  withal,  a  beauti 
ful  country,  this  Missouri  upland,  with  ridges  of  splendid 
oaks  and  elms  rolling  like  waves  against  the  sky,  inter 
spersed  with  sunny  slopes  of  fields,  and  lined  with  streams 
of  fine  clear  water. 

The  people  were,  however,  more  markedly  Southern 
in  character  than  those  of  his  native  county,  and  many 
were  slaveholders.  Their  houses  were  modifications  of 
the  woodsman's  cabin,  like  those  in  the  Ohio  Valley,  with 
the  wide  galleries  of  the  South  added.  Some  of  them 
are  standing  to-day,  picturesque  and  hospitable  in  ap 
pearance,  consistent  and  dignified  as  types  of  farm  archi 
tecture.  They  were,  however,  farm-houses,  not  mansions. 
Around  most  of  them  stood  little  shanties  of  hewn  logs, 
in  which  the  slaves  lived  in  picturesque  squalor.  The 
abolition  movement  was  in  fervid  heat  at  this  time,  and 
had  affected  some  of  the  most  advanced  thinkers  to  the 
point  of  liberating  their  bondsmen  ;  but  Colonel  Dent  and 
most  of  his  immediate  neighbors  remained  slaveholders  to 
the  last. 

Grant  made  a  full  hand  about  the  farm  during  that 
first  year.  He  bound  wheat,  in  the  good  old  fashion, 
behind  stalwart,  shining  negro  cradlers.  He  helped  with 
the  plowing  and  in  gathering  the  corn.  The  farmers'  sons 
of  the  neighborhood  quite  generally  worked  w'th  the 
negroes  in  the  field,  and  they  respected  Captain  Grant 
for  his  manly  resolution.  The  ex-soldier  earned  his  bread 
in  the  sweat  of  his  brow  during  those  long,  sultry  weeks, 
but  uttered  no  word  of  complaint.  He  began  to  reach 

Mrs.  U.  S.  Grant  and  her  two  eldest  children, 
Frederick  D.  and  Ulysses  S.,  Jr.,  about  1854. 

From  a  daguerreotype  taken  at  St.  Louis,  now  owned  by  Mr.  U.  S.  Grant,  Jr. 
and  reproduced  here  with  his  permission. 


out  and  lay  hold  of  means  to  begin  farming  on  his  own 

In  the  early  fall  of  1855  he  set  forth  to  build  a  cabin 
for  his  family  upon  the  land  which  the  colonel  had  set 
aside  for  his  use,  and  to  that  purpose  he  began  to  fell 
trees  and  to  hew  logs.  Day  after  day  he  toiled  among 
the  oaks.  Hour  by  hour  the  ringing  stroke  of  his  ax 
uttered  his  resolution.  He  was  a  powerful  man  with  the 
ax,  and  the  deft  swing  and  sharp  impact  of  the  shining 
blade  left  a  clean,  smooth  cut.  Around  him  the  squirrels 
watched  the  ripening  nuts  and  scampered  through  the  fall 
ing  leaves ;  and  when  his  wife  sat  near  to  watch  him,  and 
the  children  played  with  the  white  and  amber  chips,  the 
scene  was  far-reaching  in  its  significance.  Over  and  over 
again  had  this  drama  been  enacted  in  the  long  march  of 
his  ancestors  from  the  Atlantic  Ocean  to  the  Mississippi 
River,  with  their  toil  softened  and  made  light  in  this  wise 
by  the  brooding  tenderness  of  women  and  the  laughter  of 
children.  Nothing  that  he  had  done  in  all  his  campaigns, 
up  to  that  time,  touched  such  heights  of  resolution  and 
manly  independence  as  this  single-handed  assault  on  the 
ranked  oaks  and  elms. 

At  last  the  logs  were  ready  to  be  put  into  place,  and 
invitations  were  sent  out  for  the  "raising."  The  calls 
were  readily  answered,  for  Captain  Grant  had  made  a 
favorable  impression  upon  the  neighbors  by  his  hard  work 
and  his  unassuming  manners.  The  Sappingtons,  the 
Longs,  and  the  Wrights  sent  in  hands,  both  white  and 
black.  Fenton  Long  took  a  corner,  Captain  Grant  an 
other,  and  at  a  third  was  stationed  a  powerful  negro  from 
White  Haven ;  for  the  notching  and  fitting  at  the  corners 
required  men  who  were  quick  on  their  feet  and  strong  and 
true  with  the  ax.  Two  half-days  put  the  logs  in  place, 
and  then  Grant  was  able  to  go  on  with  the  inside  work. 
He  laid  the  floor,  put  in  the  window-panes,  and  helped 
to  shingle  the  roof.  Everything  within  his  power  he  did 
with  his  own  hands,  to  save  expense. 

At  last  it  was  finished,  and  having  in  mind  the  rather 
grandiose  title  of  Colonel  Dent's  house,  and  foreseeing 
toil  and  close  economy,  Grant,  with  quizzical  humor, 

134  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

called  his  new  home  "  Hardscrabble."  It  was  a  large 
cabin  of  four  rooms,  rather  more  ambitious  than  the  cabin 
homes  of  many  young  married  people  of  the  neighbor 
hood.  The  furniture  was  scanty  and  plain,  but  fireplaces 
were  wide  and  wood  plenty,  and  a  sort  of  rude  comfort 
was,  after  all,  possible  within  its  walls. 

Charles  Ford,  the  manager  of  the  United  States  Ex 
press  in  St.  Louis,  was  an  old-time  acquaintance  from 
Sacket's  Harbor,  and  through  his  aid  Captain  Grant 
secured  on  easy  terms  a  very  fine  span  of  express  horses. 

The  acquirement  of  a  team  set  him  up  in  business.  He 
began  at  once  hauling  wood  into  St.  Louis  and  props  to 
the  coal-mines  near  by,  and  was  able  also  to  do  some 
teaming  for  his  father-in-law.  His  horses  not  merely 
helped  him  to  earn  money — they  were  a  pleasure  to  him. 
He  treated  them  as  pets,  and  they  appreciated  it;  they 
would  do  anything  for  him.  He  taught  many  a  man  how 
to  use  a  horse. 

The  exploits  of  this  famous  team  provoked  banter. 
One  Sunday  morning,  as  Grant  sat  upon  the  veranda  of 
the  elder  Sappington's  house,  the  old  man  said :  "  Cap 
tain,  I  hear  you  hauled  sixty  bushels  of  wheat  to  the  city 
some  days  ago." 

"  I  did,"  replied  Grant,  concisely. 

"  I  can't  believe  it ;  it  don't  seem  reasonable." 

"  I  tell  you  what  I  '11  do,  Mr.  Sappington,"  replied 
Grant,  quietly.  "  I  will  put  on  sixty  bushels  of  wheat, 
and  you  do  the  same.  If  I  get  to  St.  Louis  without  out 
side  help,  and  you  don't,  I  am  to  have  both  loads.  If 
you  succeed,  and  I  don't,  you  're  to  have  both  loads." 

The  older  man  smiled,  but  shook  his  head.  "  Well," 
he  said,  "  I  don't  see  how  you  do  it." 

Henry  C.  Wright  at  that  time  owned  a  grist-mill  not 
far  from  the  Dent  farm,  and  recalls  many  interesting 
scenes  of  Grant's  life  in  Gravois. 

"  Captain  Grant  used  to  come  almost  every  week  to 
my  mill  to  get  corn  and  wheat  ground.  The  first  time 
I  ever  saw  him  was  at  a  sale.  He  was  a  small,  thin  man 
then,  with  a  close-cropped  brown  beard.  He  had  no 
overcoat,  I  remember,  and  he  wore  tall  boots,  quite 


unlike  any  others  in  the  neighborhood.  He  was  living 
with  old  man  Dent  at  that  time,  and  his  cabin  had  not 
been  built.  I  think  he  was  at  the  sale  to  buy  some 

This  second  winter  was  spent  in  teaming,  and  in  the 
spring  he  began  to  clear  the  land  for  a  crop.  There  was 
little  money  to  be  had  by  the  wealthiest  farmers,  and 
none  at  all  by  Captain  Grant,  except  by  way  of  prop- 
hauling  and  wood-selling.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  he  hauled 
more  props  than  wood.  His  neighbors  all  spent  a  good 
deal  of  time  clearing  land,  and  burned  a  great  deal  of  it. 
But  Grant  burned  no  timber;  he  made  everything  count. 
He  worked  very  hard,  the  next  spring,  planting  wheat, 
corn,  and  garden-stuff.  His  methods  were  orderly  and 
his  tools  and  stock  well  cared  for.  He  had  no  bad  habits 
except  a  liking  for  whisky.  Drink  was  said  to  be  his 
weakness,  but  his  neighbors  saw  little  of  it  at  the  time. 
He  was  always  a  gentleman,  and  a  kind,  indulgent  father. 
He  loved  horses  and  cattle,  and  every  animal  about  his 
farm  was  a  pet.  He  had  not  an  enemy  that  any  one  ever 
knew  of,  and  he  never  had  any  trouble  with  his  neigh 

Captain  Grant  soon  won  the  respect  of  the  better  class 
of  his  neighbors.  All  who  met  him  socially  liked  him. 
They  perceived  him  to  be  a  gentleman  an$  a  man  of  edu 
cation,  as  well  as  a  veteran  of  the  Mexican  War,  and  few 
presumed  to  be  familiar  with  him.  He  had  a  quiet  way 
of  keeping  people  at  arm's  length.  Once  or  twice,  by 
prompt  and  vigorous  action,  he  showed  himself  capable 
of  protecting  himself  physically.  "  A  fellow  came  to  a 
dance,  one  night,  in  his  shirt  sleeves,  and  set  about  being 
noisy  and  vulgar.  Grant  asked  him  what  he  meant  by 
it.  He  started  to  make  back  talk.  Grant  told  him  to  be 
quiet,  and  when  he  refused,  Grant  kicked  him  out  of  the 
door  and  clear  out  to  the  gate.  He  was  a  little  giant 
physically,  and  a  man  of  no  words — all  action. 

"  Another  time  he  was  going  to  Big  River,  in  company 
with  a  man  by  the  name  of  Bowman,  with  a  load  of  props 
and  one  of  hoop-poles.  They  met  a  string  of  Big  River 
teams,  whose  drivers  crowded  Bowman  and  Grant  into 

136  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

the  ditch.  Grant  grabbed  a  hoop-pole,  and  said  to 
Bowman :  '  Come  on !  '  He  was  captain  of  that  fight, 
and  the  Big  River  fellows  did  n't  repeat  the  trick." 

Grant  was  the  last  man  in  the  world  to  take  offense, 
but  there  were  limits  to  his  good  nature.  He  took  part 
in  all  the  neighborhood  social  affairs — at  least,  to  the 
point  of  accompanying  Mrs.  Grant  and  looking  on.  He 
himself  did  not  dance,  but  he  enjoyed  a  game  of  cards, 
and  was  an  excellent  player.  Occasionally  he  took  Mrs. 
Grant  to  a  quilting.  As  they  had  no  light  carriage,  they 
went  on  horseback,  each  with  a  child  behind.  He  often 
made  calls  on  the  neighbors,  and  was  sometimes  present 
at  the  shooting-matches  in  the  early  fall,  when  the  young 
men  met  to  shoot  for  the  quarters  of  a  bullock.  "  He 
was  a  fairly  good  shot  at  a  mark,  and  sometimes  carried 
off  a  quarter  of  beef." 

At  that  time  whisky-drinking  was  well-nigh  universal, 
and  Captain  Grant  was  exposed  to  constant  temptation. 
His  wife  and  children  helped  him  in  his  fight  against  his 
appetite.  His  safety  lay  in  absolutely  abstaining  from  its 
use,  and  for  the  most  part  he  kept  clear  of  blame.  His 
time  of  greatest  trial  came  when  he  met  old  army  friends 
in  St.  Louis.  Whatever  share  he  took  in  the  drinking 
habits  of  the  time,  he  retained  the  respect  of  the  best 
people  of  the  neighborhood.  No  reputable  man  in  all 
the  country  round  will  say  he  ever  heard  an  oath  or  an 
unclean  suggestion  from  Captain  Grant's  lips. 

His  neighbors  considered  him  a  strange  man.  "To 
some  of  them  he  seemed  unpractical,  a  dreamer,  with  no 
turn  at  all  for  business,  but  one  of  the  kindest  men  in  the 
world.  Everybody  could  impose  on  his  generosity." 

His  neighbors  never  became  intimate  with  him,  for  all 
he  was  so  companionable  and  unassuming  and  lived  the 
life  of  a  farmer  as  absolutely  as  any  of  them.  He  cut 
props,  hauled  wood,  plowed,  sowed,  reaped,  raised  hogs, 
grubbed  out  stumps,  and  built  fences.  It  was  a  hard  life, 
but  had,  after  all,  its  peculiar  pleasures.  It  had  its  sunny 
days  as  well  as  its  cold,  gray,  hopeless  ones. 

His  affairs  improved  little  each  year.  Mrs.  Grant  was 
obliged  to  think  twice  before  buying,  but  neither  she  nor 


the  children  ever  went  hungry  or  cold.  Living  was  cheap, 
wood  as  abundant  as  air,  corn  was  easy  to  raise,  and  bacon 
not  impossible  to  honestly  acquire ;  therefore  the  children 
throve  apace. 

At  its  best  life  in  these  days  was  a  hard  struggle,  and 
the  soldierly  figure  began  to  stoop  at  the  shoulders,  and 
the  hands  grew  hard  and  heavy.  "  He  was  always  busy. 
He  did  his  best,  and  most  of  his  neighbors  felt  sorry  for 
him.  Others  patronized  him  because  of  his  lack  of  suc 
cess,  and  would  not  have  swapped  places  with  him.  In 
general  the  best  people  of  the  town  considered  him  one 
of  themselves." 

In  1857  Mrs.  Dent  died,  and  Colonel  Dent  returned  to 
St.  Louis  to  live.  Captain  Grant  took  charge  of  White 
Haven,  and  assumed  control  of  the  slaves,  tools,  and 
teams,  such  as  they  were.  He  was  a  poor  slave-driver, 
however;  the  negroes  did  pretty  much  as  they  pleased. 
He  seldom  talked  politics,  but  his  neighbors  all  considered 
him  a  Northern  man  in  feeling  and  education.  They 
suspected  an  opposition  to  slavery.  Whatever  his  real 
wish  in  the  matter,  he  acquiesced  to  the  extent  of  making 
use  of  the  negroes  left  in  his  charge. 

His  teaming  to  St.  Louis  and  to  the  barracks,  where  he 
sold  fire-wood,  still  continued,  and  "  he  unloaded  many  a 
cord  of  wood  in  the  back  yards  of  St.  Louis  aristocrats  of 
that  time."  Fellow-officers,  meeting  him  on  the  street 
during  this  period,  pitied  him  as  "  a  man  with  an  all- 
pervading  air  of  hard  luck  and  vain  regrets,"  dressed  in 
farmer  fashion,  with  his  trousers  tucked  into  his  old  mili 
tary  boots.  "  He  talked  very  little  about  himself,  even 
to  those  old  friends — merely  answered  questions;  but 
seemed  to  enjoy  references  to  old  times  in  the  Mexican 
War."  One  of  his  chief est  pleasures  was  a  meeting  with 
comrades  like  Longstreet  and  Ingalls. 

By  reason  of  his  full  beard  and  his  gravity  of  demeanor, 
he  seemed  a  middle-aged  man  to  the  young  men  of  Gra- 
vois.  He  was  never  sour  or  sullen,  but  also  he  was  never 
gay.  He  wore  the  somber  look  of  a  man  who  endures 
and  waits. 

General  Beale  was  sitting  outside  of  the  Planters'  Hotel, 

138  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

one  day,  and  Grant  came  along  with  a  teamster's  whip  in 
his  hand.  Beale  recognized  him.  "  Why,  how  do  you 
do,  captain?  What  are  you  doing  here?  " 

"  Oh,  I  am  farming  on  a  piece  of  land  belonging  to 
Mrs.  Grant,  some  ten  miles  out  in  the  country." 

While  they  were  talking  the  bell  rang,  and  Grant  started 
to  go  on;  but  Beale  said  :  "  Come  in  and  have  dinner  with 

"Well,  I  don't  know;  I  am  not  dressed  for  company," 
said  Grant,  hesitatingly. 

"  Oh,  that  does  not  matter;  come  in." 

Grant  never  forgot  this  kindness.  Any  favor,  no  matter 
how  small,  which  arose  from  a  man's  frank  and  unselfish 
generosity  made  a  profound  impression  upon  him,  though 
he  gave  little  visible  sign  of  it  at  the  time. 

After  all  is  said  in  palliation  of  this  period,  it  was  a 
sorrowful  situation  for  Ulysses  Grant.  He  was  a  Northern 
man  of  natural  refinement,  and  an  educated  soldier,  mar 
ried  into  a  slave-owning  family,  and  surrounded  by  slave- 
owning  neighbors  upon  whom  he  was,  in  a  sense,  depen 
dent.  Each  year  his  position  grew  more  difficult  because 
of  the  growing  heat  of  discussion.  He  never  talked 
politics  outside  his  most  intimate  circle  of  friends.  What 
he  thought  is  but  obscurely  hinted  at  by  his  action. 

He  voted  for  Buchanan  in  1858,  and  expressed  to  a 
friend  at  the  time  a  foreboding  of  trouble.  He  hoped  to 
see  Buchanan  elected,  for  the  reason  that  he  believed  it 
would  put  the  struggle  four  years  further  off.  H.  C. 
Wright,  a  near  neighbor,  was  running  for  the  legislature 
on  the  Whig  ticket  that  year,  and  was  at  the  polling- 
place.  Grant  approached  him,  and  said :  "  Mr.  Wright,  I 
have  voted  for  you  to-day ;  not  on  the  ground  of  politics, 
for  I  am  a  Democrat,  but  because  I  think  you  are  the  best 
man  for  the  place." 

In  calling  these  "  years  of  failure,"  it  must  be  remem 
bered  that  the  whole  nation  was  in  unstable  equilibrium. 
The  West  had  passed  through  a  panic,  and  the  impending 
struggle  between  North  and  South  made  all  business  un 
certain  and  fitful.  Then,  too,  Grant  began  at  the  bottom, 
as  a  farmer  on  a  piece  of  timbered  land.  And  yet,  in 


spite  of  all  this,  he  steadily  though  slowly  acquired  stock 
and  tools;  for  when,  in  1858,  he  determined  to  leave  the 
farm,  he  had  some  little  property  to  sell  at  public  sale. 

It  is  not  strictly  true  to  say  he  was  inapt  in  business. 
At  times  he  showed  remarkable  efficiency.  His  perform 
ance  of  regimental  quartermaster  duties  was  without 
criticism,  and  his  successful  bakery  for  the  regiments  at 
Puebla,  Monterey,  and  Tacubaya,  and  also  his  ready 
resource  developed  in  crossing  the  Isthmus,  show  him  to 
have  been  capable  and  orderly.  It  seems  that  when  a 
thing  was  worth  while  he  did  it  well.  But  he  saw  nothing 
ahead  for  himself  or  his  children.  He  could  not  go  on 
thus  to  the  end  of  his  days.  All  the  time  he  was  grub 
bing  out  stumps  and  hauling  wood  he  was  pondering.  A 
neighbor  said :  "  He  was  like  a  man  thinking  on  an  ab 
stract  subject  all  the  time."  He  was  not  really  a  part  of 
the  life  around  him ;  he  remained  a  looker-on  through  it 
all,  meeting  everybody  in  the  same  reserved,  courteous 
way.  There  are  scores  of  people  to  say  they  knew  him, — 
people  who  saw  him  on  his  load  of  wheat  or  wood,  men 
who  met  him  in  his  cabin  or  saw  him  working  about  his 
stable, — but  they  remember  little  that  is  instructive, 
beyond  his  reticence  and  his  generosity.  They  saw  the 
rough  clothing,  the  grave,  impassive  face,  the  common 
every-day  action  of  the  man,  and  knew  him  to  be  of 
Northern  blood;  that  was  all. 

But  in  the  midst  of  his  own  trouble  and  poverty  he 
never  forgot  others.  He  was  improvidently  generous. 
He  gave  when  he  needed  every  cent  in  his  pocket.  He 
was  kind,  quick  to  aid  by  physical  labor,  and  hospitable 
to  the  last  loaf.  There  was  not  one  word  uttered  against 
him  at  that  time,  even  in  relation  to  his  intemperance. 
Whisky  was  known  by  a  few  to  be  his  bane,  but,  except 
at  rare  intervals,  he  did  not  indulge  himself  in  its  use. 
"  No  one  considered  him  a  drinking  man,  and  there  were 
no  stones  abroad  then  concerning  his  immoderate  use  of 
whisky,"  said  his  neighbor  Wright. 

It  was  a  time  of  inner  struggle.  He  fought  a  silent 
battle  with  the  liquor  habit,  and  won ;  and  to  his  faithful 
wife  the  highest  honor  is  due.  The  first  two  years  of  his 

140  LIFE   OF    GRANT 

life  in  Gravois  have  their  dark  spots,  but  gradually  he  put 
behind  him  the  habits  of  army  life,  and  lived  without 

In  the  autumn  of  1858  he  abandoned  the  idea  of  farm 
ing.  There  may  have  been  family  reasons  for  his  removal 
to  St.  Louis,  but  the  reason  he  gave  at  the  time  suffices. 
His  health  had  broken  down.  Working  in  the  forest  and 
around  the  lowlands  had  fastened  fever  and  ague  upon 
him,  a  common  affliction  in  that  day,  when  decaying 
vegetation  abounded,  and  the  lands  were  much  swampier 
than  at  present. 

This  also  is  certain :  the  eager,  erect,  hopeful,  and 
ambitious  youth  of  the  Mexican  War  had  become  a  pre 
maturely  bent,  care-worn,  and  somber  man  of  thirty-five. 


GRANT    TRIES    TO    MAKE    A    LIVING   IN    ST.   LOUIS 

AS  Grant's  health  began  to  fail  he  determined  to  get 
JL\.  into  some  business  in  St.  Louis,  and  to  that  end 
directed  his  energies.  Mrs.  Grant  was  very  much  in  favor 
of  this  plan,  and  urged  her  father  to  aid  in  finding  some 
thing  for  the  discouraged  farmer  to  do.  Colonel  Dent  very 
soon  secured  a  partnership  for  his  son-in-law  with  Mr. 
Harry  Boggs,  a  family  connection.  Mr.  Boggs  was  con 
ducting  a  small  real-estate  business,  and  was  in  need  of 
somebody  to  assist  him,  and  Captain  Grant  went  into  the 
firm  practically  as  a  clerk,  for  he  had  no  money  to  invest. 

For  a  few  months  he  lived  with  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Boggs, 
who  gave  him  an  unfurnished  back  room  in  their  house 
and  told  him  to  fit  it  up  as  he  pleased.  It  contained  very 
little  during  the  time  he  lived  there.  He  had  a  bed,  and 
a  bowl  and  pitcher  on  a  chair,  and  no  stove  at  all.  On 
cold  nights  he  sat  beside  the  Boggs's  family  fire.  On 
Saturdays  he  went  home.  He  lived  in  this  way  all 

In  the  early  spring  he  rented  a  little  home  on  Lynch 
Street,  sold  his  stock  and  tools  at  the  farm,  and  moved  his 
family  into  town.  "  He  had  no  exalted  opinion  of  himself 
at  any  time,  but  in  those  days  he  seemed  almost  in  despair. 
He  was  not  fitted  for  civilian  life.  His  friends  thought 
him  a  man  of  ability,  but  in  the  wrong  place.  His  mind 
was  not  on  business  matters.  His  intentions  were  good, 
but  he  had  n't  the  faculty  to  solicit,  nor  to  keep  small 
affairs  in  order." 

To  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Boggs  he  seemed  much  depressed. 


142  LIFE   OF    GRANT 

He  seldom  smiled,  was  never  heard  to  laugh  aloud.  His 
habits  were  of  the  best  while  he  was  with  them.  Each 
day  he  went  to  his  desk ;  at  night  he  sat  beside  the  fire 
and  smoked  his  pipe.  His  friends  loved  him  because  he 
was  so  gentle  and  considerate,  but  they  could  not  see 
anything  for  him  to  do  in  the  world.  He  had  resigned 
from  the  army,  and  had  failed  at  farming,  and  it  was 
soon  apparent  that  he  was  not  fitted  to  buy  and  sell  real 
estate.  What  could  his  best  friends  think  but  that  he  was 
a  man  without  a  vocation?  He  did  not  blame  them  for 
thinking  poorly  of  his  powers ;  he  thought  poorly  of  him 
self.  He  saw  no  light  ahead  at  this  time,  and  yet  his 
desires  were  of  the  humblest  character.  He  had  no 
ambition,  apparently,  other  than  to  educate  his  children 
and  take  care  of  his  family. 

He  impressed  his  friends  as  an  abstracted  man.  He 
said  very  little  unless  some  large  topic  arose.  If  any  one 
mentioned  Napoleon's  battles,  or  the  Mexican  War,  or  the 
question  of  secession,  he  became  alert,  succinct,  and  fluent 
of  speech.  He  began  to  talk  politics  a  great  deal  with 
his  intimate  friends.  His  partner,  Boggs,  never  doubted 
Grant's  position,  and  politics  had  something  to  do  with 
the  final  dissolution  of  partnership. 

The  firm  of  McClelland,  Hilyer  &  Moody  had  the 
parlors  of  an  old  French  mansion  on  Pine  Street  between 
Second  and  Third.  Moody  had  the  back  room,  and  Hilyer 
and  McClelland  the  front,  and  it  was  in  this  office  that  the 
firm  of  Boggs  &  Grant  had  desk-room.  Mr.  McClel 
land  expressed  a  liking  for  Captain  Grant.  "  He  does  n't 
seem  to  be  just  calculated  for  business,  but  an  honester, 
more  generous  man  never  lived.  I  don't  believe  he  knows 
what  dishonesty  is." 

The  new  firm  announced  itself,  by  card,  "  prepared  to 
buy  and  sell  real  estate,  collect  loans  and  rents,  and  also 
to  buy  and  sell  negotiable  paper."  This  business  de 
mands  a  persuasive  and  tireless  talker,  and  again  Ulysses 
Grant  found  himself  at  a  disadvantage.  He  could  not 
"  edge  toward  a  thing."  He  had  no  power  to  banter  or 
beguile  or  persuade.  He  was  of  not  much  advantage, 
and  Mr.  Boggs  at  length  concluded  he  was  better  off 


without  him.  The  partnership  was  dissolved,  and  Grant 
went  out  on  the  streets  again,  looking  for  work.  He 
haunted  the  places  where  any  kindly  face  could  be  seen 
or  any  work  seemed  remotely  obtainable.  The  office  of 
county  engineer  was  to  be  vacant,  and  he  wrote  a  letter 
in  mid-August  to  the  county  court,  which  had  the  power 
of  appointing  this  office,  asking  for  the  place.* 

He  presented  warm  indorsements  from  Professor  J.  J. 
Reynolds  and  D.  M.  Frost,  and  a  petition  signed  by 
nearly  two  score  of  very  well-known  citizens,  which  seems 
to  show  the  respect  and  esteem  in  which  he  was  held,  and 
correspondingly  discredits  the  stories  of  the  malicious. 

He  was  defeated,  for  two  reasons:  because  the  other 
applicant  was  better  known  in  his  capacity  as  an  engineer, 

*  "  I  beg  leave  to  submit  myself  as  an  applicant  for  county  engineer, 
should  the  office  be  rendered  vacant,  and  at  the  same  time  to  submit  the 
names  of  a  few  citizens  who  have  been  kind  enough  to  recommend  me  for 
the  office.  I  have  made  no  effort  to  get  a  large  number  of  names,  nor  the 
names  of  persons  with  whom  I  am  not  personally  acquainted. 

"  I  inclose  herewith  also  a  statement  from  Professor  Reynolds,  who  was 
a  classmate  of  mine  at  West  Point,  as  to  qualifications. 

"  Should  your  honorable  body  see  proper  to  give  me  the  appointment,  I 
pledge  myself  to  give  the  office  my  entire  attention  and  shall  hope  to  give 
general  satisfaction. 

"  Very  respectfully, 

"  Your  Ob't.  Svt., 

"  U.  S.  GRANT." 

Appended  to  this  manly  and  modest  application  were  several  indorsements 
which  show  his  standing  at  the  time. 

"  ST.  Louis,  August  i,  1859. 

"  Captain  U.  S.  Grant  was  a  member  of  the  class  at  the  Military  Academy 
at  West  Point  which  graduated  in  1843.  He  always  maintained  a  high 
standing,  and  graduated  with  great  credit,  especially  in  mathematics  and 
engineering.  From  my  personal  knowledge  of  his  capacity  and  acquire 
ments,  as  well  as  of  his  strict  integrity  and  unremitting  industry,  I  consider 
him  in  an  eminent  degree  qualified  for  the  office  of  county  engineer. 

"J.  J.   REYNOLDS, 

"  Professor  Mechanics  and  Engineering, 
"  Washington  University,  St.  Louis,  Missouri." 

Below  this,  and  on  the  same  sheet,  appears  this  note : 

"  I  was  for  three  years  in  the  corps  of  cadets  at  West  Point  with  Captain 
Grant,  and  afterward  served  with  him  for  some  eight  or  nine  years  in  the 
army,  and  can  fully  indorse  the  foregoing  statement  of  Professor  Reynolds. 

"  D.  M.  FROST." 

144  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

and  also  because  Grant  was  a  Democrat,  and  three  of 
the  five  judges  were  Republican.  The  defeat  was  a  bitter 
disappointment  to  him,  for  the  work  promised  to  be  con 
genial.  It  would  have  taken  him  into  the  open  air,  and 
had  to  do  with  mathematical  problems,  in  which  he  was 
proficient,  and  required  no  manner  of  soliciting,  which 
was  practically  impossible  for  him. 

He  next  secured  a  clerkship  in  the  custom-house;  but 
within  a  month  the  collector  died,  and  Grant  was  thrown 
out  of  employment  again.  He  tried  everything,  but 
knew  not  where  to  set  his  foot.  It  seemed  as  if  nothing 
existed  in  the  world  for  him  to  do,  or  that  the  high  powers 
had  decreed  that  he  should  not  thrive  in  the  South. 

Meanwhile  he  had  been  a  year  or  more  in  St.  Louis 
without  earning  anything  considerable,  and  his  small  store 
of  savings  was  gone.  Besides  this,  the  man  with  whom 
he  had  traded  had  given  him  a  bad  title  in  his  house  and 
lot,  and  at  last  he  was  forced  to  leave  it  and  take  a  still 
humbler  one,  though  the  Lynch  Street  house  seemed 
humble  enough.  He  was  in  arrears  with  his  landlord, 
and  forced  also  to  borrow  money  of  his  friends,  and  by 
the  following  spring  his  affairs  were  in  a  deplorable 

He  thought  at  one  time  of  going  to  Colorado  with  a 
friend.  At  another  time  he  had  a  chance  to  go  into  the 
hardware  business,  and  wrote  his  father  requesting  aid. 
He  waited  nearly  a  month  before  getting  any  reply,  and 
when  the  letter  finally  came,  its  refusal  to  assist  him 
threw  a  damper  on  his  plans.  "  His  father-in-law  contrib 
uted  little  or  nothing  to  the  support  of  the  family,  and 
in  his  conversation  reflected  with  bitterness  and  ridicule 
upon  his  unpromising  son-in-law."  "The  hardship  of 
this  period  of  his  life  can  never  be  adequately  told." 

When  his  discouragements  were  greatest  he  went  often 
to  see  his  friend  Fishback,  to  talk  over  old  times  in  Ohio, 
and  the  many  friends  they  held  in  common.  Political 
discussion  was  running  high  in  St.  Louis  at  that  time, 
and  to  be  seen  in  the  office  of  the  "  Democrat "  argued 
abolition  principles,  and  made  of  the  visitor  a  marked  man. 
This  Captain  Grant  soon  felt.  Each  month  the  fire  of 


sectional  hate  burned  hotter;  each  month  his  position 
grew  more  difficult;  and  at  last  he  ceased  to  call  at  the 
office  of  the  "  Democrat."  His  father-in-law  was  a  slave 
owner,  and  all  of  Mrs.  Grant's  family  and  friends  were 
hotly  Southern  in  sentiment,  and  St.  Louis  society  in  those 
days  had  little  toleration  for  a  "  Yankee  abolitionist "  or 
"black  Republican  Northerner."  There  was  but  one 
thing  for  Captain  Grant  to  do:  that  was,  to  keep  his 
thoughts  to  himself.  These  years  constituted  a  training 
in  reticence  and  self-control.  He  had  been  reticent ;  he 
now  became  silent. 

One  day  in  the  spring  of  1860  he  met  his  friend 
Fishback  on  the  street,  and  stopped  him.  His  appearance 
made  a  vivid  and  lasting  impression  on  Fishback's  mind. 
He  was  shabbily  dressed,  his  beard  was  unshorn,  and  his 
whole  manner  denoted  profound  discouragement. 

11  Fishback,  I  would  like  to  sell  or  hire  one  of  my  wife's 
house-servants.  She  is  an  excellent  woman,  and  has  been 
in  the  family  for  many  years;  but  she  is  a  slave,  and  I 
can't  take  her  North." 

"  So  you  are  going  North?  " 

"Yes,"  he  replied,  with  a  sigh;  "  I  can't  make  a  suc 
cess  of  it  here,  and  I  am  going  to  Galena.  My  father  has 
offered  me  a  place  in  the  leather  business  with  my  brothers, 
and  I  have  accepted." 

Fishback  declined  to  hire  the  slave  woman,  and  the  two 
men  shook  hands  and  parted,  Fishback  to  resume  his  fight 
against  slavery,  Grant  to  go  North  to  earn  a  scanty  living. 
At  this  moment  he  touched  the  lowest  depth  of  dejection 
since  his  resignation  from  the  army.  He  had  made  a 
brave  fight,  but  it  had  been  against  too  great  odds.  As 
the  heat  of  discussion  waxed  it  became  more  difficult  to 
maintain  friendly  relations  with  his  neighbors. 

His  father-in-law  was  a  grievance,  with  his  invectives 
against  the  "  Yankees " ;  and  the  time  came  when  his 
friends  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Boggs  shared  so  deeply  in  the 
growing  sectionalism  that  they  refused  to  take  his  hand. 

It  was  a  period  of  being  despised  of  men  and  of  lesser 
men — a  time  of  uncertainty  and  futility.  He  was  cut  off 
from  his  own  people,  and  little  regarded  by  his  brothers. 

146  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

He  was  a  disappointment  to  them,  for  they  knew  very 
little  of  him  personally,  and  had  not  sufficient  insight  to 
perceive  that  his  education,  and  his  adventurous  and 
dramatic  life  in  Mexico,  on  the  Isthmus,  and  in  California, 
had  unfitted  him  for  a  stern,  patient  grapple  with  bread- 
winning  by  office-work  in  a  time  of  business  uncertainty 
and  social  unrest.  It  seemed  as  though  the  future  prom 
ised  only  hunger  and  cold  for  him  and  his. 

He  acknowledged  his  inability  to  make  a  living  in  St. 
Louis,  and  went  to  his  father  an  apparently  defeated  man. 
Regard  for  the  wishes  of  his  wife  had  led  him  to  remain 
in  the  South  longer  than  he  otherwise  would  have  done. 
She  was  Southern ;  naturally  she  did  not  care  to  go 
North.  Now  he  told  her  that  he  must  leave  St.  Louis, 
and,  with  a  loyal  resolution  to  share  his  fortunes  to  the 
end,  Mrs.  Grant  consented. 

These  were  hard  days,  too,  for  Jesse  Grant,  who  had 
long  talked  of  "  my  Ulysses  "  and  the  great  deeds  he  was 
to  do.  It  seemed  all  a  mistake  now,  in  face  of  this  grave, 
shabbily  dressed,  middle-aged  man.  Perhaps  it  was  the 
quiet  mother  who  softened  the  father's  heart ;  at  any  rate, 
he  "  referred  "  Ulysses  to  his  younger  sons,  Simpson  and 
Orvil,  who  were  in  charge  of  a  leather  store,  a  branch  of 
his  business,  in  Galena,  Illinois.  Through  them  Ulysses 
was  to  receive  fifty  dollars  per  month  during  the  first  year, 
and  if  he  was  found  to  be  a  valuable  man  at  the  end  of  the 
year  he  was  to  acquire  an  interest  in  the  business. 

Putting  the  best  face  on  the  matter  does  not  make  six 
hundred  dollars  per  annum  for  a  man  with  a  family  of 
six  to  feed  a  very  long  start  toward  a  competency ;  but 
Captain  Grant  gratefully  accepted  the  offer.  There  had 
never  been  any  vaingloriousness  in  the  youth  of  the  man, 
and  now  he  bowed  his  head  to  subordination  without 
complaint.  His  wife  and  children  must  be  fed. 

Those  dark  days  were  days  of  preparation,  of  growth. 
In  this  six-year  struggle  great  powers  of  thought,  of 
reserve,  of  concentration,  were  developed.  His  con 
spicuous  weakness  in  certain  directions  made  him  watch 
ful  and  kept  him  sympathetic.  His  poverty  made  him 
understand  men.  His  life  with  slaves  and  slaveholders 

GRANT  TRIES  TO   MAKE    A    LIVING   IN  ST.   LOUIS    147 

gave  him  the  key  to  their  motives  and  to  their  conception 
of  the  great  slavery  question.  Thus  far  his  life  had  been 
led  midway  between  the  South  and  the  North.  Geo 
graphically  he  was  fitted  to  understand  both  sides  of  any 
sectional  controversy.  The  black  man  he  knew  by  per 
sonal  contact.  The  slave-owner  he  had  known  as  neigh 
bor.  The  enormous  power  of  the  "  peculiar  institution  " 
had  been  a  palpable  presence  all  his  life  in  Georgetown,  in 
Louisiana,  and  in  Missouri.  Southern  Ohio  was  only  a 
little  less  pro-slavery  than  Gravois,  Missouri. 

He  was  now  to  come  in  contact  wi'.h  the  conscience  of 
the.  North.  In  the  spring  of  1860  he  moved  to  Galena, 



are  men  yet  living  who  stood,  one  April  day 
JL  in  1860,  watching  the  steamer  Itasca  while  she 
nosed  her  way  up  the  tortuous  current  of  the  Galena 
River.  As  she  swung  up  to  the  wharf,  attention  was 
attracted  to  a  passenger  on  deck  wearing  a  blue  cape- 
overcoat.  As  the  boat  struck  the  wharf  this  man  rose 
and  gathered  a  number  of  chairs  together,  evidently  part 
of  his  household  furniture. 

"  Who  is  that?  "  asked  one  man  of  a  friend. 

"  That  's  Captain  Grant,  Jesse  Grant's  eldest  son.  He 
was  in  the  Mexican  War.  He  's  moving  here,"  was  the 

No  one  thereafter  gave  particular  attention  to  the 
stranger,  except  some  boys,  who  were  attracted  by  his 
soldier  overcoat,  the  like  of  which  they  had  never  before 

Captain  Grant  took  a  couple  of  chairs  in  each  hand, 
and  walked  ashore  with  them.  His  wife,  a  small,  alert 
woman,  followed  him  with  her  little  flock.  There  were 
four  children,  three  boys  and  a  girl,  all  plainly  but  care 
fully  dressed,  the  hand  of  the  mother  showing  in  all 
things.  The  carrying  of  the  chairs  ashore  signified  that 
Ulysses  Grant  had  become  a  resident  of  Galena. 

The  elder  Grant  had  prospered.  He  had  removed  from 
Bethel  to  Covington,  Kentucky,  where  his  tannery  was 
then  located.  He  had  also  established  in  Galena,  as  a 
branch  of  his  business,  a  wholesale  leather  store,  one  of 
the  largest  in  the  Northwest  at  that  time.  Originally  the 



firm  was  "  Grant  &  Collins  "  ;  but  Collins  had  withdrawn, 
and  the  firm  in  1860  was  "Jesse  R.  Grant,"  with  his  son 
Simpson  as  nominal  manager,  and  with  Orvil  Grant  (the 
youngest  brother)  and  M.  T.  Burke  as  clerks. 

Captain  Grant  established  his  family  in  a  small  brick 
house  which  stood  high  on  the  bluff  to  the  north  of  the 
main  street.  The  rent  was  low,  not  merely  because  the 
house  stood  on  the  edge  of  the  town,  but  because  to  reach 
it  required  a  climb  up  several  hundred  wooden  steps.  The 
price  was  one  hundred  dollars,  one  sixth  of  his  yearly 

Simpson  went  to  live  with  Ulysses  in  the  new  house  on 
the  hill,  and  this,  no  doubt,  helped  out  expenses. 

"  Nominally,"  says  Burke,  "  we  all  were  to  get  six  hun 
dred  dollars  per  year,  but  as  a  matter  of  fact  we  were 
all  working  for  a  common  fund,  and  we  had  what  we 
needed.  We  were  not  really  upon  salaries,  in  the  ordi 
nary  sense,  at  all.  Captain  Grant  came  into  the  firm  on 
the  same  terms.  There  was  no  bossing  by  Simpson  or 
Orvil.  I  had  as  much  to  do  about  managing  as  anybody, 
and  no  more.  There  was  no  feeling  against  Ulysses 
coming  in,  and  no  looking  down  on  him  as  a  failure.  We 
all  looked  up  to  him  as  an  older  man  and  a  soldier.  He 
knew  much  more  than  we  in  matters  of  the  world,  and 
we  recognized  it." 

Grant  at  once  turned  his  hand  to  everything  needful 
to  be  done.  He  was  nominally  bill-clerk  and  collection 
agent,  but  in  fact  he  sold  stock,  bought  hides,  and  made 
out  bills  for  goods,  all  in  the  same  day.  Sometimes,  it  is 
true,  he  sold  Russian  bristles  worth  twelve  dollars  per 
pound  for  ten  cents  an  ounce ;  but  such  mistakes  are 
rememberable,  while  the  many  times  he  sold  awls  or  shoe- 
pegs  or  leather,  and  did  it  right,  are  forgotten. 

In  those  days  exchange  was  high,  and  to  save  eight  or 
ten  per  cent,  the  firm  bought  dressed  pork  on  the  streets, 
and  shipped  it  to  Cincinnati,  to  be  turned  into  money 
there.  Captain  Grant  often  climbed  upon  farmers'  sleighs, 
as  they  came  into  town,  and  bid  upon  the  stiff  and  stark 
yellow  carcasses.  Richard  Barrett,  another  buyer  at  the 
time,  found  him  "  a  mighty  shrewd  buyer,  too." 


One  day  the  clerk  of  the  court  sent  word  that  a  desk 
needed  covering,  and  Captain  Grant  took  a  breadth  of 
leather,  and  went  to  the  court-house,  where,  with  the  aid  of 
young  Will  Rowley,  he  cut  and  tacked  it  on.  Rowley  was 
a  man  of  brains  and  pluck,  which  Captain  Grant  quickly 
apprehended,  and  the  two  men  became  friends  at  once. 

On  all  days  when  an  overcoat  was  necessary  this 
stranger  wore  his  blue  coat;  and  Lewis  Rowley,  Clerk 
Rowley's  little  son,  was  much  impressed  by  it.  "  It  made 
him  seem  about  eight  feet  tall  to  the  boys,  and  they  stood 
in  awe  of  him  because  he  had  been  a  soldier  and  because 
he  wore  that  wonderful  coat.  His  son  Fred  was  about 
my  age,  and  I  was  in  and  out  of  the  house  almost  every 
day.  I  used  to  see  Captain  Grant  come  home,  climbing 
up  the  hill,  and  then  in  the  evenings  he  used  to  sit  and 
read  to  Mrs.  Grant,  or  read  by  himself  and  smoke  a  clay 
pipe.  He  was  seldom  away." 

There  is  more  to  tell  about  this  blue  coat.  Andrew 
Haines  met  him,  one  Sunday  morning,  on  one  of  the 
stairways  which  crumple  over  the  ridges  and  descend  the 
bluffs  to  Main  Street.  He  stopped  Haines,  and  said 
abruptly : 

"  I  suppose  people  think  it  strange  that  I  should  wear 
this  old  army  coat,  but  the  fact  is,  I  had  this  coat,  it  's 
made  of  good  material,  and  so  I  thought  I  'd  better  wear 
it  out."  Undoubtedly  he  clung  to  it  for  its  associations 
as  well  as  for  economical  reasons,  though  such  sentiment 
his  training  would  not  allow  him  to  acknowledge. 

At  the  bottom  of  the  steep  stairway  of  several  hundred 
steps  stood  a  little  Methodist  church  of  brick,  and  there 
Captain  Grant,  his  wife,  and  their  flock  of  small  children 
were  to  be  seen  almost  as  regularly  as  the  deacons  them 
selves.  He  was  not  a  church-member,  but  Mrs.  Grant 
was,  and  he  readily  accompanied  her.  In  such  plain, 
simple  fashion  he  lived  during  that  year. 

The  Grants  knew  few  people  outside  their  immediate 
neighbors,  the  Felts,  the  Burkes,  the  Haineses,  and  his 
brother  Orvil's  family.  The  Soulardes,  whom  Mrs.  Grant 
knew  in  the  South,  came  occasionally  to  see  them;  and 
sometimes  young  Upson  the  jeweler,  and  Burke,  and 


Orvil  Grant  used  to  meet  at  the  captain's  for  an  evening 
at  euchre ;  but  "  the  captain  was  not  much  of  a  hand  for 
games."  He  read  a  great  deal  to  Mrs.  Grant,  whose  eyes 
were  not  strong,  and  his  evenings  were  almost  invariably 
spent  at  home. 

During  the  eleven  months  of  his  stay  in  Galena  he 
lived  so  quietly,  so  inconspicuously,  that  no  one  outside 
his  customers  and  the  little  group  on  the  hill  met  him. 
He  had  few  acquaintances  and  no  intimates.  Every  day 
he  went  to  the  store,  came  home  to  dinner  at  noon,  and 
returned  to  his  family  at  night.  He  was  absolutely 
abstemious,  diligent  as  a  clock,  and  freely  turned  his  hand 
to  whatever  his  brothers  required  of  him,  patient  of  their 
impatience,  in  all  ways  their  fellow-worker.  His  work 
was  not  unpleasant,  being  in  no  way  connected  with  a 
tannery.  In  fact,  there  was  no  tannery  in  Galena,  and 
never  had  been.  The  nearest  approach  to  it  was  a  currier 
shop,  where  green  hides  were  stripped  of  hair  in  order  to 
be  shipped  to  the  tannery  in  the  East.  Grant  was  not  a 
tanner,  never  had  been,  and  had  nothing  to  do  with  this 
work.  It  was  a  repulsive  task,  and  required  strong  nerves 
and  powerful  muscles.  It  was  a  work  which  he  had 
refused  to  take  up  when  a  boy  of  seventeen,  and  no  one 
asked  it  of  him  in  Galena.  That  he  may  have  weighed 
hides  is  probable,  but  mainly  his  work  was  clerical,  and 
bill-books  are  extant  showing  many  pages  of  his  hand 

The  quiet  routine  of  his  life  was  broken  but  once,  when 
he  made  a  business  trip  of  a  week  or  ten  days  up  among 
the  small  towns  of  Wisconsin  and  over  into  Iowa.  This 
trip  was  important  in  that  it  brought  him  still  closer  into 
touch  with  the  mind  of  the  North.  He  had  been  sur 
rounded  by  officers  of  Southern  extraction  for  many  years, 
and  it  was  a  good  thing  for  him  to  come  in  contact  once 
more  with  the  plain  people  whom  Lincoln  knew  so  well 
and  trusted  so  completely.  It  was  a  time  of  discussion. 
At  night,  in  the  hotels  and  stores,  he  is  said  to  have 
mingled  with  the  crowds,  listening  quietly  to  all  that  was 
worth  hearing,  and  occasionally  uttering  an  apt  sentence 
notable  for  its  succinct  good  sense.  He  loved  still  to 

252  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

discuss  Mexico  and  the  Mexican  War,  and  was  considered 
a  most  excellent  talker. 

It  was  close  figuring  during  those  days,  with  stout 
youngsters  wearing  out  clothes  and  eating  at  least  three 
times  each  day.  Mrs.  Grant  heroically  battled  with  con 
ditions.  She  took  care  of  her  own  house  and  the  children, 
and  found  time  to  put  on  her  prettiest  dress  and  meet 
the  captain  at  the  edge  of  the  bluff.  All  superfluities 
were  stripped  away.  They  lived  comfortably,  but  very 
plainly.  She  wore  her  black  alpaca  dress,  and  he  his 
army  overcoat,  in  order  that  the  children  might  present 
good  though  plain  clothing  at  the  Sunday-school  classes. 
Grant  felt  himself  to  be  on  the  up  grade.  He  had  reached 
a  certain  security  :  for  the  first  time  since  leaving  the  army 
he  felt  perfectly  sure  of  a  home.  Simpson  was  in  poor 
health,  however,  and  more  and  more  of  the  responsibility 
fell  upon  the  captain.  Both  brothers  had  come  to  respect 
him,  even  to  admit  his  ability  to  buy  and  sell  goods.  In 
December  he  wrote  to  a  friend : 

"  In  my  new  employment  I  have  become  pretty  con 
versant,  and  am  much  pleased  with  it.  I  hope  to  be  a 
partner  pretty  soon.  .  .  .  How  do  you  feel  on  the 
subject  of  secession  in  St.  Louis?  .  .  . 

"  It  is  hard  to  realize  that  a  State  or  States  should 
commit  so  suicidal  an  act  as  to  secede  from  the  Union, 
though,  from  all  reports,  I  have  no  doubt  but  five  of  them 
will  do  it.  And  then,  with  the  present  granny  of  an 
Executive,  some  foolish  policy  will  doubtless  be  pursued 
which  will  give  the  seceding  States  the  support  and  sym 
pathy  of  the  Southern  States  that  don't  go  out." 

It  will  be  seen  he  had  acquired  ideas  about  political 
events  which  he  could  express  as  clearly  and  forcibly  as 
he  reported  Mexican  campaigns.  Indeed,  he  is  remem 
bered  in  Galena  as  a  specially  good  talker ;  but  he  gener 
ally  spoke  of  what  he  had  seen  rather  than  of  things  he 
had  read,  except  in  the  case  of  newspaper- reading.  He 
did  not  discuss  books  or  religion  or  art. 

Some  time  in  February  his  friend  Rowley  said  to  him  : 

"  There  's  a  great  deal  of  bluster  about  these  South 
erners,  but  I  don't  think  there  's  much  fight  in  them." 


"  Rowley,  you  are  mistaken,"  Grant  replied  impres 
sively.  "There  is  a  good  deal  of  bluster;  that  's  the 
result  of  their  education ;  but  if  they  ever  get  at  it,  they 
will  make  a  strong  fight.  You  are  a  good  deal  like  them 
in  one  respect:  each  side  underestimates  the  other  and 
overestimates  itself."  * 

He  never  argued  or  persuaded.  He  stated  his  view 
clearly,  forcibly,  without  exaggeration,  then  quit.  There 
was  something  inevitable  about  his  manner  of  speech. 
Men  observed  it,  but  seeing  his  seedy  coat,  his  rough  hat, 
and  knowing  his  subordinate  position,  they  passed  over 
his  remarkable  qualities  without  comprehending  their  full 
purport,  yet  feeling  vaguely  that  a  man  who  did  not  drink, 
did  not  swear,  who  argued  not  concerning  God  nor  science 
nor  politics,  who  used  no  slang  or  vulgarity,  and  who 
spoke  only  when  he  had  something  to  say,  was  (to  speak 
within  the  power  of  retreat)  a  "peculiar  man."  There 
are  those  who  remember  to  have  said,  "  That  Captain 
Grant 's  a  peculiar  chap."  Others  thought  him  a  "  pretty 
smart  man  in  some  things,  but  no  push  in  business."  In 
general  he  was  overlooked  by  those  who  were  the  local 

*  Richardson's  "Life  of  Grant." 



FIVE  days  after  the  attack  on  Fort  Sumter  there  was 
gathered  into  the  court-house  of  Galena  an  excited 
throng  of  men  and  boys.  Every  bench  was  packed,  every 
chair  taken,  every  foot  of  floor  was  occupied. 

Some  one  rapped  the  meeting  into  order.  It  was  citizen 
Hempstead.  He  gave  way  to  Robert  Brand,  the  mayor, 
who  took  the  chair  with  obvious  misgivings.  He  mentally 
stammered,  coughed,  and  repeated  himself.  He  was  a 
vacillating,  temporizing  man  of  Southern  birth  before  a 
decided  and  radical  audience.  Amid  painful  silences  he 
said,  with  candor:* 

"  Fellow-citizens,  I  acknowledge  the  honor  you  confer 
upon  me,  but  it  will  be  well  to  state  briefly  and  frankly  the 
ground  on  which  I  stand  in  this  present  crisis.  I  am  in 
favor  of  any  honorable  compromise." 

That  slimy  word,  slipping  from  the  mouth  of  the  mayor, 
produced  a  painful  shock.  The  men  before  him  were  not 
assembled  to  suggest  compromise.  The  mayor  went  on 
haltingly,  perceiving  that  his  words  were  out  of  harmony  : 

"  I  am  in  favor  of  sustaining  the  President "  (the  heavy 
feet  began  to  rumble  on  the  floor)  "  so  long  as  his  efforts 
are  for  the  peace  and  harmony  of  the  whole  country." 

The  throng  of  battle-decided  men  had  small  sympathy 
for  such  indecision ;  they  grew  tumultuous  in  opposition. 

"  I  am  in  favor  of  a  convention  of  the  people,  that  an 

*  This  account  is  based  on  the  accounts  which  appeared  in  the  daily 
papers  of  the  city. 



adjustment  may  be  made  sustaining  alike  the  honor, 
interest,  and  safety  of  both  sections  of  our  country." 

The  grumble  of  voices  warned  the  mayor  that  he  was 
on  the  wrong  track.  He  pulled  himself  together. 

"  I  am  in  favor  of  sustaining  our  flag,  our  Constitution, 
and  our  laws,  right  or  wrong." 

Nobody  felt  sure  as  to  just  what  that  meant,  but  it 
grew  clearer  as  he  ended  : 

"  Yet  I  am  opposed  to  warring  on  any  portion  of  our 
beloved  country,  if  a  compromise  can  be  effected." 

Then  the  tumult  broke  forth.  Men  quivering  with 
excitement  leaped  to  their  feet,  but  gave  way  to  the  local 
great  man,  Elihu  B.  Washburne,  a  thin-lipped,  trans 
planted  New-Englander.  His  big,  rugged,  smooth-shaven 
face  was  tense  with  emotion. 

"  I  do  not  approve  of  the  spirit  of  the  remarks  of  our 
chairman,  and  I  never  will  submit  to  the  idea  that  in  this 
crisis,  when  war  is  upon  us,  and  when  our  flag  is  assailed 
by  traitors  and  by  conspirators,  the  government  should  be 
thus  dealt  with.  We  should  have  a  chairman  who  more 
fully  represents  the  patriotic  feeling  of  this  meeting;  I 
therefore  nominate  George  W.  Campbell  to  preside  over 
this  meeting." 

This  precipitated  the  struggle,  and  Washburne's  motion 
was  put,  and  defeated  in  belligerent  tumult. 

Mr.  Washburne  then  said : 

"  I  withdraw  the  motion.  I  did  not  come  here  with 
the  intention  or  desire  to  introduce  any  political  questions 
whatsoever.  I  think,  however,  the  chairman  has  gone 
out  of  his  way  to  drag  in  such  matters.  In  this  crisis  any 
man  who  would  introduce  party  politics,  be  he  Republi 
can,  Democrat,  or  American,  such  a  man  is  a  traitor." 
Applause  at  this  point  instructed  the  chairman.  "  But  to 
test  the  sense  of  the  meeting,  I  will  offer  some  resolu 
tions."  He  then  read  a  series  of  resolutions  declaring 
the  will  of  the  citizens  to  "  support  the  government  of 
the  United  States  in  the  performance  of  all  its  consti 
tutional  duties  in  the  great  crisis,"  and  recommending  the 
immediate  formation  of  two  military  companies  in  the  city 
of  Galena. 

156  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

Mr.  Washburne,  being  loudly  called  for,  again  addressed 
the  meeting,  hastily  reviewing  the  situation  of  affairs  in 
the  country,  and  calling  upon  all  good  citizens  to  rally  to 
the  support  of  the  government. 

The  resolutions  seemed  to  express  the  sentiment  of 
the  majority  of  the  men  present,  but  talk  was  demanded. 
Captain  Howard,  a  Mexican  War  veteran,  made  a  short 
speech.  Then  arose  a  young  Democratic  lawyer  of  the 
town,  a  swarthy  fellow  with  rough-hewn,  passionate  face, 
with  big  eyes  and  wide  lips — the  face  of  an  orator,  the 
form  of  a  farm-laborer. 

Many  knew  him,  for  he  had  been  a  laborer,  a  farmer, 
and  a  charcoal-burner  in  the  country  near.  He  had  edu 
cated  himself,  had  been  admitted  to  the  bar,  and  had 
achieved  the  distinction  of  being  candidate  for  elector 
on  the  Democratic  list.  He  could  swear  in  polysyllabic 
words  and  in  iambic  pentameter  verse.  In  times  of  need 
his  flow  of  oaths  was  satisfying  to  the  most  avid  ear. 
Every  head  now  leaned  to  listen,  and  for  nearly  an  hour, 
with  voice  like  a  lion,  and  with  big  work-widened  hands 
reaching  and  threatening,  John  Rawlins  pleaded  and 
damned  and  argued,  amid  wild  shouts  of  applause  and 
the  rumble  of  boot-heels,  which  seemed  at  times  to  pre 
dict  the  sullen,  rhythmic  sound  of  marching  feet. 

"The  time  of  compromise  is  past,"  he  said  in  closing, 
amid  the  wildest  cheering,  "  and  we  must  appeal  to  the 
God  of  battles." 

As  he  sat  down  it  seemed  as  if  every  man  there  was 
ready  to  enlist,  and  yet  the  chairman  made  no  use  of  this 
splendid  appeal,  this  quick  response.  The  meeting  fizzled 
to  a  dreary  anticlimax  of  second-rate  talk. 

As  the  crowd  was  pouring  out  young  Rowley  said  to  Grant  : 

"  Well,  Captain  Grant,  it  was  a  fine  meeting,  after  all." 

"Yes;  we  're  about  to  do  something  now,"  was  the 
quiet  answer. 

This  was  the  feeling  of  the  patriots,  and  next  day  notice 
was  given  that  a  meeting  to  raise  a  company  of  volunteers 
would  be  held,  and  a  few  nights  following  the  court-room 
held  another  dense  crowd.  It  was  a  meeting  held  for 
action  this  time,  and  some  citizen  again  assumed  temporary 


chairmanship.  "  This  meeting  will  come  to  order.  I 
nominate  Captain  U.  S.  Grant  for  chairman." 

The  men  were  surprised,  but  in  a  mood  to  go  ahead 
under  any  leadership.  The  motion  was  carried.  Grant 
was  sitting  in  grave  silence  on  one  of  the  hard  benches 
outside  the  railings.  Though  he  had  been  in  Galena  for 
a  year,  few  had  ever  seen  him  with  his  hat  off ;  and  many 
of  those  who  knew  him  had  noticed  him  simply  because 
he  wore  the  only  soldier  overcoat  in  the  town.  He  hesi 
tated.  Shouts  arose:  "Grant!  Captain  Grant!  " 

He  left  the  pine  bench  upon  which  he  had  been  sitting, 
and  with  much  embarrassment  went  through  the  crowd 
toward  the  desk.  He  was  perceived  to  be  a  shortish  man, 
slightly  stooping  in  the  neck.  He  carried  his  head  a  little 
on  one  side  also,  and  had  the  look  of  a  serious,  capable, 
sympathetic  country  doctor. 

As  he  approached  the  platform  where  stood  the  judge's 
chair,  he  turned  aside  and  stood  at  the  clerk's  table  below 
the  judge's  desk. 

"Go  up,  captain!"  "Platform!  Platform!  "  shouted 
the  crowd. 

He  smiled  and  shook  his  head,  and  stood  for  a  moment 
with  both  hands  resting  on  the  desk.  He  was  not  without 
a  certain  impressiveness,  seen  thus.  His  head  was  large, 
and  his  face  thoughtful  and  resolute.  He  wore  a  full 
beard,  light-brown  in  color,  trimmed  rather  closely,  and 
the  firm  line  of  his  lips  could  be  seen.  In  manner  he  was 
almost  timid  as  he  turned  and  said,  in  substance : 

"  Fellow-citizens,  this  meeting  is  called  to  organize  a 
company  of  volunteers  to  serve  the  State  of  Illinois.  Who 
will  you  have  for  secretary?" 

The  bustle  of  electing  a  secretary  seemed  to  give  Cap 
tain  Grant  time  to  recover  himself  a  little,  and  he  continued  : 

"  Before  calling  upon  you  to  become  volunteers,  I  wish 
to  state  just  what  will  be  required  of  you.  First  of  all, 
unquestioning  obedience  to  your  superior  officers.  The 
army  is  not  a  picnicking  party,  nor  is  it  an  excursion.  You 
will  have  hard  fare.  You  may  be  obliged  to  sleep  on  the 
ground  after  long  marches  in  the  rain  and  snow.  Many 
of  the  orders  of  your  superiors  will  seem  to  you  unjust, 

158  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

and  yet  they  must  be  borne.  If  an  injustice  is  really  done 
you,  however,  there  are  courts  martial,  where  your  wrongs 
can  be  investigated  and  offenders  punished.  If  you  put 
your  name  down  here,  it  should  be  in  full  understanding 
of  what  the  act  means.  In  conclusion,  let  me  say  that  so 
far  as  I  can  I  will  aid  the  company,  and  I  intend  to  reenlist 
in  the  service  myself." 

The  audience  cheered  at  this,  though  a  little  dashed 
by  the  quiet,  serious,  almost  fateful  talk  of  the  chairman. 
Someway  he  took  the  bombast  out  of  the  evening's 
meeting,  yet  left  it  vital  with  resolute  patriotism.  In 
answer  to  questions  concerning  military  organization,  he 
replied  in  masterly  brevity.  He  seemed  to  know  every 
detail.  Every  word  fitted  to  its  place  like  hewn  stones  in 
an  arch,  not  one  unnecessary. 

Washburne  made  a  strong  speech,  and  then  the  crowd 
called  again  for  Rawlins. 

Rawlins  refused  to  speak,  and  when  some  of  his  friends 
went  over  and  took  him  by  the  arm  to  lead  him  forward, 
he  said : 

"  No,  boys ;  I  can't  do  it.  My  wife  is  dying  of  con 
sumption.  If  she  were  the  rosy-cheeked  girl  she  was 
when  I  married  her,  I  would  n't  say,  '  Go,  boys ' ;  I  'd 
say,  '  Come,  boys'  But  I  can't  leave  her." 

The  fateful  eyes  of  the  chairman  were  on  his  neighbor 
Rawlins,  and  the  sincerity  of  the  young  husband's  utter 
ance  sank  deep. 

Nearly  two  score  names  were  enrolled  that  night,  and 
Ulysses  Grant  never  again  returned  to  his  clerkship  in 
the  leather  store  of  J.  R.  Grant ;  he  had  other  business 
on  hand  which  he  knew  more  about. 

The  next  day  he  wrote  to  his  father-in-law,  putting  into 
writing  more  of  his  actual  fervency  of  feeling  than  he  ever 
allowed  himself  in  speech.  It  showed  how  deeply  he  had 
pondered  on  vital  themes,  and  how  clear-sighted  his  per 
ceptions  were. 

MR.  F.  DENT. 

DEAR  SIR:  I  have  but  little  time  to  write.  .  .  .  The  times 
are  indeed  startling;  but  now  is  the  time,  particularly  in  the 
border  Slave  States,  to  show  their  love  of  country.  .  .  .  All 
party  distinction  should  be  lost  sight  of,  and  every  true  patriot 


be  for  maintaining  the  glorious  old  stars  and  stripes,  the  consti 
tution  and  the  Union.  The  North  is  responding  to  the  presi 
dent's  call  in  such  a  manner  that  the  confederates  may  truly 
quake.  I  tell  you  there  is  no  mistaking  the  feelings  of  the  people. 
The  government  can  call  into  the  field  75,000  troops  and  ten  and 
twenty  times  75,000  if  it  should  be  necessary,  and  find  the  means 
of  maintaining  them  too.  It  is  all  a  mistake  about  the  northern 
pocket  being  so  sensitive.  In  times  like  the  present  no  people 
are  more  ready  to  give  of  their  time  or  of  their  abundant  means. 

No  impartial  man  can  conceal  from  himself  the  fact,  that  in 
all  these  troubles  the  southerners  have  been  the  aggressors,  and 
the  administration  has  stood  purely  on  the  defensive,  more  on  the 
defensive  than  she  would  have  dared  to  have  done,  but  for  her 
consciousness  of  right  and  the  certainty  of  right  prevailing  in  the 

The  news  to-day  is  that  Virginia  has  gone  out  of  the  Union. 
But  for  the  influence  she  will  have  on  the  border  States,  this  is 
not  much  to  be  regretted.  Her  position  or  rather  that  of  eastern 
Virginia  has  been  more  reprehensible  from  the  beginning  than 
that  of  South  Carolina.  She  should  be  made  to  bear  a  heavy 
portion  of  the  burden  of  the  war  for  her  guilt. 

In  all  this  I  can  but  see  the  doom  of  Slavery* 

This  letter  and  one  to  his  father  and  to  his  brother-in- 
law  put  an  end  to  any  stories  concerning  his  lack  of 
patriotism.  He  was  awake  and  eager. 

On  Saturday  of  the  same  week  he  went  with  Rowley 
and  Rawlins  and  Orvil  Grant  into  Hanover,  a  neighboring 
village,  and  there  he  made  his  first  set  speech;  "and  it 
was  a  good  one,  too — short  and  to  the  point." 

Meanwhile  the  company  of  Jo  Daviess  Guards  had 
been  organized,  and  the  men,  recalling  Captain  Grant's 
record  and  his  knowledge  of  military  affairs,  offered  him 
the  captaincy  of  it.  He  thanked  them,  but  refused.  "  I 
think  I  can  serve  the  State  better  at  Springfield,"  he  said 

He  explained  to  his  friends :  "  I  can't  afford  to  reenter 
service  as  a  captain  of  volunteers.  I  have  served  nine 
years  in  the  regular  army,  and  I  am  fitted  to  command  a 
regiment."  He  further  said:  "I  will  do  anything  that 
lies  in  my  power  to  assist  the  company  in  getting  into 
service.  I  will  go  down  to  Springfield,  if  necessary." 

*  Quoted  by  Burr  in  his  "Life  and  Deeds  of  Grant." 

160  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

Upon  his  withdrawal,  A.  L.  Chetlain  was  made  captain. 
He  was  a  vigorous  young  man,  and  had  been  the  first 
man  to  volunteer. 

Captain  Grant  was  in  hourly  demand  thereafter.  He 
selected  the  cloth  and  superintended  the  making  of  the 
uniforms;  he  drilled  the  company  as  a  whole  and  in 
squads;  he  instructed  the  officers,  Captain  Chetlain  and 
Lieutenants  Campbell  and  Dixon ;  and  in  one  week  from 
the  date  of  the  second  war  meeting  the  company  was 
organized,  uniformed,  and  ready  to  move  upon  the  enemy. 
In  true  provincial  blare  and  bluster,  it  marched  through 
the  streets,  preceded  by  the  fire  company,  the  Masonic 
Assembly,  the  Odd  Fellows,  the  mayor,  and  other  civic 
means  of  splendor,  while  Captain  Grant,  with  carpet-bag 
in  hand,  stood  modestly  in  the  crowd  on  the  walk  and 
watched  them  pass.  To  avoid  the  crowd,  he  fell  in  behind 
the  column,  and  quietly,  with  head  pensively  drooping, 
marched  in  their  wake  across  the  bridge,  and  entered  the 
train  for  Springfield.  No  one  remembers  his  walk  to  the 
depot,  save  one  or  two  small  boys  who  were  in  the  rear  of 
the  rush.  One  was  Henry  Chetlain,  brother  to  the  cap 
tain  of  the  Jo  Daviess  Guards.  He  recalls  that  the  carpet 
bag  was  limp  and  gaunt. 



DURING  the  month  of  May,  1861,  Springfield,  the 
capital  city  of  Illinois,  seethed  like  a  pot  with  orators 
and  soldiers  and  place-seekers  and  glory-hunters.  Lin 
coln's  call  for  troops  had  been  made,  the  volunteers  were 
pouring  in,  the  legislature  was  in  extraordinary  session, 
and  nearly  every  public  man  in  the  State  was  at  the  seat 
of  government  to  advise,  instruct,  or  wheedle  the  gov 
ernor  and  his  staff.  Nobody  knew  what  to  do  or  how  to 
do  it.  The  streets  were  filled  with  the  tramp  of  squadrons, 
the  snarl  of  the  drum,  and  the  wail  of  the  fife.  The  whole 
State  seemed  marching. 

Governor  Richard  Yates,  a  man  of  keen  intelligence 
and  good  intentions,  but  of  little  military  knowledge,  was 
at  his  wit's  end.  What  with  political  advisers,  regiments 
appealing  to  be  recognized,  and  the  work  of  organizing 
and  arming  such  as  had  already  been  accepted  (keep 
ing  all  the  while  on  the  safe  side  of  persons  supposed  to 
hold  the  — th  district  in  the  hollow  of  their  hands),  he 
was  as  busy  as  any  man  in  the  North  at  that  time.  The 
great  State  of  Illinois  had  but  just  ceased  to  be  a  border 
State,  and  had  but  very  loose  military  organizations;  it 
scarcely  reached  organization  at  all. 

The  governor's  office  was  thronged  twenty  rows  deep 
with  people  of  importance  (or  fancied  importance),  and 
he  had  little  time  to  give  to  the  modest  and  unimpressive 
ex-soldier  from  Galena  who  came  to  tell  him  that  the  Jo 
Daviess  Guards  were  ready  to  be  mustered  in,  and  also 
to  say  that  he  desired  to  aid  the  government  in  some 


1 62  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

capacity.  The  governor  curtly  said:  "  I  'm  sorry  to  say, 
captain,  there  is  nothing  for  you  to  do.  Call  again." 

Captain  Grant  turned  away  much  chagrined.  He  had 
reached  this  interview  after  hours  of  waiting,  and  by  aid 
of  a  letter  from  his  local  political  leader,  Mr.  E.  B.  Wash- 
burne,  and  now  saw  his  friend's  letter  go  into  the  waste- 
basket,  and  heard  the  polite  phrase,  which  meant  nothing, 
"  Call  again." 

However,  the  "  Daily  Register"  uttered  an  unconscious 
word  for  him,  for  the  next  day  after  his  arrival,  under  the 
caption,  "  Still  They  Come,"  the  editor  spoke  in  praise  of 
the  uniformed,  well-drilled  company  from  Galena,  "  one 
of  the  few  ready  to  enter  immediately  on  active  service." 
The  drilling  and  uniforming  were  the  outcome  of  Grant's 
experience  and  activity,  but  of  this  the  editor  was  un 

Grant  had  left  Galena  with  a  very  slender  purse  as  well 
as  a  very  lank  carpet-bag,  and  was  in  poor  condition  for 
a  long  waiting  at  the  door  of  office.  He  knew  no  one 
save  Captain  Chetlain  and  a  few  of  the  private  soldiers  in 
the  Jo  Daviess  Guards,  and,  worst  of  all,  in  the  midst  of 
the  martial  preparation  he  had  no  part.  He  saw  their 
great  need  of  him,  but  was  absolutely  powerless  to  put  in 
a  guiding  hand. 

In  order  to  keep  expenses  as  low  as  possible,  he  shared 
the  rent  of  a  room  with  Captain  Chetlain,  and  took  his 
meals  at  the  Chenery  House,  near  by. 

He  began  to  make  acquaintances  slowly.  R.  H. 
McClellan,  newly  elected  member  from  Galena,  came  to 
him  and  talked  with  him,  and  became  convinced  of  his 
value  as  a  military  leader  in  a  small  way.  He  had  reached 
no  acquaintance  with  Grant  in  Galena,  but  his  connection 
with  the  Guards  led  to  closer  study,  though  he  saw  little 
of  him.  Captain  Chetlain,  however,  still  continued  to 
profit  by  Captain  Grant's  instruction.  Each  night,  as  the 
two  men  returned  to  their  room,  some  point  of  military 
organization  was  taken  up  and  discussed;  and  Captain 
Chetlain  spread  the  knowledge  thus  gained  among  his 
company  officers.  *:. 

At  meal-time  each   day  Grant  met  McClellan,  J.   E. 

Grant's  letter  offering  his  services  to  the  government. 
In  the  original  letter  the  last  three  lines  and  the  signature  are  on  a  second  page. 


Smith,  and  other  of  his  Galena  neighbors,  and  was  en 
couraged  by  them  to  remain  a  little  longer.  They  knew 
the  need  of  his  services.  All  the  talk  was  about  the  weak 
ness  of  the  State's  military  organization.  The  governor 
was  overwhelmed  with  volunteers,  but  had  no  one  to 
muster  them  in  or  make  use  of  them  effectively.  Grant 
impressed  every  one  he  talked  with  as  a  man  who  knew 
military  forms  and  regulations,  but  he  had  not  secured  the 
attention  of  any  of  the  influential  politicians  of  his  county. 

He  came  into  Mr.  McClellan's  room,  one  night,  saying 
abruptly :  "I'm  going  home.  The  politicians  have  got 
everything  here ;  there  's  no  chance  for  me.  I  came 
down  because  I  felt  it  my  duty.  The  government  edu 
cated  me,  and  I  felt  I  ought  to  offer  my  services  again. 
I  have  applied,  to  no  result.  I  can't  afford  to  stay  here 
longer,  and  I  'm  going  home." 

He  determined  to  leave  on  the  evening  train.  Gov 
ernor  Yates  took  his  meals  at  the  same  hotel,  and  had 
come  to  observe  Captain  Grant  and  to  inquire  about  him 
a  little  more  particularly.  The  evening  Grant  determined 
to  quit  the  capital  he  left  the  supper-room  before  the 
governor  rose,  and  was  standing  on  the  steps  when  he 
came  out.  "  Captain  Grant,  I  understand  you  are  about 
leaving  the  city,"  said  the  governor. 

"  That  is  my  intention,"  replied  Grant. 

"  I  wish  you  'd  remain  overnight,  and  call  at  my  office 
in  the  morning." 

Grant  remained,  called  on  the  governor,  and  was 
assigned  to  a  desk  in  the  adjutant-general's  department. 
The  office  of  adjutant-general  of  the  State  of  Illinois  at 
that  time  was  about  equivalent  to  a  janitorship  of  the 
little  arsenal,  which  was  hardly  more  imposing  than  a 
corn-crib.  Its  incumbent  was  expected  to  sweep  out  the 
arsenal  twice  a  year,  and  for  this  he  drew  a  salary  of  five 
hundred  dollars.  The  office  was  given  to  some  political 
auxiliary  to  whom  the  honor  of  being  called  general  made 
up  for  the  lack  of  salary.  The  adjutant-general  at  that 
time  was  Mr.  T.  S.  Mather,  who  is  frankly  described  by 
old  citizens  as  being  "  no  good  on  earth  as  adjutant-gen 
eral.  He  was  an  insurance  agent,  a  big,  showy,  good- 

1 64  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

natured  fellow,  and  up  to  the  breaking  out  of  the  war  he 
had  no  special  office  for  transacting  the  State's  business." 

The  pressure  of  military  responsibility  which  now  fell 
upon  Tom  Mather  was  very  great,  and  Governor  Yates, 
though  a  college-bred  man  and  of  a  bright  mind,  was  quite 
as  unmilitary.  They  needed  Captain  Grant's  experience 
desperately,  and  yet  they  had  not  sense  or  courage  enough 
to  use  him.  Mather  grudgingly  set  Grant  to  the  most 
elementary  of  tasks.  For  several  days  he  made  out  blanks, 
sitting  at  a  three-legged  table  in  the  bare  anteroom  of  the 
improvised  adjutant's  office.  "  Any  boy  could  do  my 
work,"  he  said,  in  disgust,  to  Captain  Chetlain.  But  the 
position  was  not  barren  of  results.  It  enabled  him  to 
meet  men  and  to  answer  questions,  and  it  soon  became 
noised  abroad  that  he  was  a  West  Point  graduate  and  a 
veteran  of  the  Mexican  War.  Above  all,  it  became  known 
that  any  one  could  ask  any  military  question  of  Captain 
Grant,  and  receive  a  clear,  concise,  and  definite  answer. 

John  M.  Palmer,  passing  through  the  office  one  day, 
asked  who  he  was,  and  was  told,  "  He  's  a  dead-beat 
military  man — a  discharged  officer  of  the  regular  army." 
Nevertheless  the  knowledge  spread  that  the  "  dead-beat 
military  man  "  knew  things  important  to  know.  And  yet, 
while  the  whole  State  was  resounding  with  the  clamor  of 
drum  and  fife,  while  the  confusion  deepened,  while  the 
need  of  his  skill  increased,  they  kept  him  idle  or  set  him 
at  small  clerical  tasks.  He  ruled  blanks,  he  wrote  out 
military  forms  and  orders,  and  decided  questions  of  mili 
tary  regulations;  he  dug  up  old  muskets  in  the  arsenal, 
and  made  report  thereon  to  the  governor — doing  uncom 
plainingly  tasks  almost  menial  in  character,  and  yet  making 
steady  progress. 

He  became  general  military  adviser  of  the  whole  office, 
but  so  quietly  that  no  one  realized  it.  Then  he  was  made 
drill-master  at  Camps  Yates  and  Butler,  the  one  on  the 
western  outskirts  of  the  town,  the  other  on  the  east.  Dur 
ing  the  temporary  absence  of  General  Pope  he  was  made 
commander  of  Fort  Yates.  Reports  of  his  efficiency  there 
encouraged  Governor  Yates  to  appoint  him  "  mustering 
officer  and  aide,"  at  a  salary  of  three  dollars  per  day,  and 
the  complimentary  rank  of  colonel. 


This  step  evidently  aroused  some  criticism,  for  a  slur 
ring  article  appeared  in  the  Jacksonville  "Journal,"  com 
plaining  of  Governor  Yates  for  appointing  aides  with  rank 
as  colonel;  especially  did  the  writer  cry  out  against  the 
pay,  which  was  absurdly  high!  Nevertheless  the  gov 
ernor  sent  Grant  into  the  field  to  muster  in  certain 
regiments,  and  in  the  adjutant-general's  office  are  some 
of  his  reports,  signed,  "  U.  S.  Grant,  mustering  officer"; 
and  some  of  the  commanders  of  the  regiments  mustered  in 
by  him  in  their  reports  speak  of  him  as  "  Colonel  Grant." 
On  the  1 4th  of  May  he  went  to  Mattoon  to  muster  in  the 
regiment  of  the  Seventh  Congressional  District. 

The  history  of  this  regiment  is  of  great  interest.  It 
was  made  up  of  lusty  young  men  from  the  farms,  shops, 
and  offices  of  the  district,  and  at  the  time  Grant  went  out 
to  muster  it  in  it  was  commanded  by  "Colonel"  Simon 
S.  Goode.  He  had  led  a  company  from  Decatur  into  the 
encampment,  and  as  he  strode  across  the  green  he  had 
so  won  the  hearts  of  all  the  officers  and  men  that  his  elec 
tion  had  been  almost  unanimous.  He  seemed  the  ideal 
soldier,  tall,  straight,  and  resolute  of  glance.  He  wore  a 
gray  flannel  shirt,  a  broad  hat,  and  tall  boots.  At  his 
belt-clasp  was  a  huge  bowie-knife,  and  on  either  side  were 
three  pepper-box  revolvers.  He  looked  to  be  quite  ca 
pable  of  putting  down  the  Rebellion  alone.  As  a  matter 
of  fact  he  knew  as  little  of  military  affairs  as  his  corporals. 

Grant  spent  two  days  with  the  regiment ;  and  notwith 
standing  the  personal  splendor  of  Colonel  Goode,  and  the 
glamour  of  his  record  as  a  Nicaraguan  filibuster,  the 
quiet  mustering  officer  made  so  deep  an  impression  upon 
the  officers  that  they  named  their  rendezvous  Camp  Grant. 
This  arose  partly  from  the  influence  of  Lieutenant-Colonel 
Alexander  and  First  Lieutenant  Joseph  W.  Vance.  Alex 
ander  had  been  in  the  Mexican  War,  and  young  Vance 
had  been  two  years  at  West  Point. 

Colonel  Grant  was  an  object  of  admiration  to  the  young 
cadet.  This  was  due  in  part  to  the  fact  that  Grant  was 
the  first  officer  young  Vance  had  seen  clothed  with 
authority  from  the  State ;  and  then  Grant  was  a  West- 
Pointer  and  a  veteran,  and  knew  his  duties.  Everything 
he  did  was  done  without  hesitation.  He  was  a  vivid 

166  LIFE   OF    GRANT 

contrast  to  Goode.  He  was  a  little  bit  stooped  at  that 
time,  and  wore  a  cheap  suit  of  clothes ;  but  the  more  dis 
cerning  were  not  blinded  by  his  modest  appearance.  On 
the  night  of  his  return  to  Springfield  Lieutenant  Vance 
went  to  the  hotel  to  see  him.  He  found  him  sitting  alone, 
smoking  abstractedly. 

Vance  introduced  himself,  and  they  had  a  long  talk; 
at  least,  Vance  talked,  and  Grant  listened,  with  a  peculiar 
sidewise  glance.  It  was  a  rainy  night,  and  a  long  time 
before  train-time,  and  the  young  cadet  felt  sure  that 
Colonel  Grant  was  glad  to  have  his  company.  The  boy 
had  not  talked  long  before  he  began  to  disclose  the  real 
character  of  Goode :  that  he  was  a  drunkard  and  a  crank ; 
that  he  was  accustomed  to  go  about  at  night  with  a  long 
cloak  wrapped  around  him,  personating  the  great  generals 
of  the  past ;  that  he  was  constantly  quoting  Napoleon,  and 
often  said,  "  I  never  sleep  "  ;  that  he  made  flamboyant 
speeches  to  the  men,  and  did  all  kinds  of  unmilitary  things. 

While  going  on  to  say  that  the  men  were  beginning  to 
understand  Goode's  worthlessness,  the  boy  became  aware 
that  he  was  talking  out  of  school  to  a  superior  officer ;  and 
not  only  that,  but  there  was  something  in  this  man's  silence 
and  in  his  strange  glance  which  made  the  cold  sweat  break 
out  all  over  the  other.  He  saw  that  he  had  committed 
a  gross  breach  of  military  discipline.  However,  Colonel 
Grant  said  nothing  in  reproof,  and  Lieutenant  Vance 
retired  rather  abruptly.  "  A  few  days  later  he  was  made 
drill-master  of  the  regiment,  upon  Colonel  Grant's  recom 

Grant  now  went  to  one  or  two  other  points  to  muster 
in  regiments,  and  on  the  2Oth  of  May,  or  thereabouts, 
returned  to  Springfield,  and  drew  a  voucher  for  his  pay, 
amounting  to  one  hundred  and  thirty  dollars.*  He  did 

*  The  voucher  reads  : 


"  This  is  to  certify  that  Captain  U.  S.  Grant,  as  aide  to  the  governor  and 
mustering  officer,  is  entitled  to  the  sum  of  one  hundred  and  thirty  dollars. 

"  T.  S.  MATHER, 
"  Adjutant-General  Illinois  Militia. 

'*  Approved  by  Governor  Yates, 
"  May  24,  iS6i  " 


not  get  the  money  till  long  after,  though  his  need  was 

This  ended  his  work  for  the  State.  Charles  Lamphier, 
editor  of  the  "  Register,"  came  upon  him  at  the  door  of 
the  Chenery  House,  a  few  days  later,  looking  fagged  out, 
lonesome,  poor,  and  dejected. 

"  What  are  you  doing  here,  captain?" 

"  Nothing — waiting,"  was  his  spiritless  reply. 

Captain  John  Pope  was  stationed  at  Springfield  during 
this  time  as  mustering  officer  for  the  United  States.  He 
was  a  fine-looking  man,  and  entirely  overshadowed  the 
plain  little  man  who  was  serving  the  governor.  He  pa 
tronized  Grant  a  little.  Through  him,  no  doubt,  Governor 
Yates  and  others  were  made  aware  of  the  conditions  under 
which  Grant  had  resigned  from  the  army.  There  is  no 
evidence  of  ill  will  in  this,  but  when  asked  concerning 
Grant,  Captain  Pope  could  only  state  what  he  knew  to  be 
current  gossip  in  army  circles.  Thus  almost  every  public 
man  in  the  capital  became  possessed  of  Captain  Grant's 
saddest  history.  This  militated  sharply  against  him, 
though  he  was  the  most  abstemious  of  men  during  all 
this  period. 

Shortly  after  this  he  returned  to  Galena.  His  visit  is 
chronicled  by  the  daily  paper,  and  he  achieved  the  first 
editorial  notice  of  his  life  on  the  following  day.  Mr. 
Houghton,  the  editor,  made  a  call  upon  him,  and  after  a 
long  interview  returned  to  his  office,  and  wrote  a  notable 
paragraph  concerning  him. 

"  We  are  now  in  want  of  just  such  soldiers  as  he  is, 
and  we  hope  the  government  will  invite  him  to  higher 
command.  He  is  the  very  soul  of  honor,  and  no  man 
breathes  who  has  a  more  patriotic  heart.  We  want  among 
our  young  soldiers  the  influence  of  the  rare  leadership  of 
men  like  Captain  Grant." 

Nevertheless,  when  Captain  Grant  wrote  to  the  adjutant- 
general  at  Washington,  proffering  his  services,  his  letter 
remained  unanswered,  and  upon  his  return  to  Springfield 
he  found  himself  no  longer  able  even  to  serve  as  aide  to 
the  governor.  He  had  been  used  when  necessity  com 
pelled  ;  but  the  regiments  were  all  mustered  in,  the  clerks 

1 68  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

were  beginning  to  get  the  run  of  military  usages,  and 
nothing  remained  for  Mustering  Officer  Grant  except  en 
listment  as  a  private  soldier,  or  command  of  a  regiment. 

Yates  did  not  think  of  giving  him  command.  "  Grant 
was  a  carpet-bagger,  scarcely  a  citizen  of  the  State."  He 
had  no  political  influence,  and  stood  no  chance  with  the 
orators  and  wire-pullers  who  crowded  for  position.  He 
was  considered  a  "  military  dead-beat "  by  the  politicians, 
and  a  sort  of  "  decayed  soldier  "  by  the  citizens.  He  was 
poorly  dressed,  decidedly  unimposing  in  appearance,  and 
army  gossip  put  a  blot  against  his  name  on  the  rolls  of 
the  old  Fourth  Infantry.  Seeing  nothing  ahead  in  Illinois, 
he  went  to  St.  Louis  to  see  General  Fremont,  but  failed 
to  do  so;  and  on  his  way  back  stopped  at  Casey ville, 
where  Colonel  Chetlain  was  camped  with  his  regiment 
He  again  assisted  Chetlain  in  military  forms  and  regula 
tions,  and  spent  the  night  with  him. 

"  It  is  strange,"  he  said  to  Chetlain,  in  a  sad  and  musing 
tone,  "  that  a  man  of  my  experience  and  education  cannot 
secure  a  command." 

Under  these  conditions  he  saw  the  futility  of  staying 
longer  in  Illinois,  and  decided  to  go  to  Ohio,  to  Cincin 
nati,  where  George  B.  McClellan  was  already  in  command 
of  a  military  district.  He  had  a  faint  hope  that  McClellan, 
when  he  saw  him,  would  offer  him  a  position  on  his  staff. 
He  called  on  two  successive  days  at  his  office,  but  failed 
to  see  him  on  either  occasion.  McClellan,  like  Fremont, 
did  not  care  to  be  bothered  by  the  "  decayed  soldier." 

He  was  now  fairly  at  the  end  of  his  resources.  During 
this  period  of  discouragement  he  visited  his  old  comrade 
Carr  B.  White,  in  Georgetown,  Ohio.  To  White  he  nar 
rated  his  many  attempts  to  get  back  into  the  service,  but 
received  very  little  aid.  White  suggested  going  to 
Columbus.  The  village  of  Georgetown  was  not  an  over- 
enthusiastic  Union  town,  and  Captain  Grant's  visit  was 
not  a  very  pleasant  one. 

Going  back  to  Cincinnati,  he  met  Chilton  White,  who 
was  a  member  of  the  legislature.  To  him  he  told  his 
story,  and  ended  by  saying:  "  I  Ve  tried  to  reenter  service 
in  vain.  I  must  live,  and  my  family  must  live.  Perhaps 


I  could  serve  the  army  by  providing  good  bread  for  them. 
You  remember  my  success  at  bread-baking  in  Mexico?  " 

White  replied  that  there  ought  to  be  a  command  for 
him,  and  asked  him  to  stay  in  Cincinnati.  "  I  'm  going 
to  Columbus,  and  I  '11  see  what  can  be  done."  In  a  few 
days  he  returned  with  a  commission  for  Grant  as  colonel 
of  the  Twelfth  Ohio,  but  found  Grant  much  elated  over 
a  telegram  which  he  had  that  day  received.  It  was  from 
Governor  Yates.  "  Will  you  accept  the  command  of  the 
Seventh  District  Regiment?" 

He  had  already  telegraphed  acceptance,  and  thanking 
White  for  his  kindness,  he  returned  to  Springfield  with  a 
jubilant  soul,  but  poor  as  ever;  and  Ohio  lost  the  chance 
of  sending  Captain  Grant  back  into  service. 

Meanwhile  dramatic  events  were  swiftly  succeeding  one 
another  in  the  regiment  commanded  by  Colonel  Goode. 
A  bread  riot  broke  out  at  Mattoon  early  in  June,  and  a 
little  later  the  guard-house,  becoming  intolerably  infested 
with  vermin,  was  burned  by  the  men.  Goode  was  either 
powerless  to  prevent  disturbance,  or  careless  of  it.  Reck 
less  spirits  foraged  upon  the  neighboring  farms,  stealing 
pigs  and  chickens,  while  others  howled  drunkenly  through 
the  streets  of  the  town.  "  There  was  n't  a  chicken  within 
four  miles  of  us,"  said  an  old  sergeant.  There  was  much 
complaint  of  the  rowdyism  of  a  number  of  the  soldiers, 
and  at  last  the  governor  ordered  the  regiment  to  Spring 
field.  On  the  1 5th  of  June,  in  a  letter  to  the  adjutant- 
general,  Goode  reported  the  regiment  in  Camp  Yates. 
However,  the  change  did  not  quell  the  disturbance. 

The  men  of  the  regiment  had  sized  Goode  up,  and 
there  was  a  great  deal  of  talk  about  his  inefficiency. 
Several  of  the  officers  determined  never  to  enter  service 
with  Goode  in  command,  and,  with  the  self-confidence  of 
youth,  Lieutenant  Vance  determined  to  let  the  governor 
know  how  they  felt  about  the  matter.  He  knew  Mr. 
Hatch,  the  Secretary  of  State,  and,  accompanied  by  Lieu 
tenant  Armstrong,  went  to  call  upon  him.  They  stated 
the  situation,  and  asked  Hatch  to  bring  the  matter  to  the 
governor's  attention,  requesting  him  either  to  appoint  a 
new  colonel  or  let  the  officers  elect  one. 


Hatch  said :  "  You  had  better  talk  with  Colonel  Palmer 
about  it.  His  advice  will  be  better  than  mine." 

Colonel  Palmer  advised  them  to  see  the  governor,  and 
at  once  took  them  in  and  introduced  them. 

"  Governor,  these  young  gentlemen  want  to  talk  with 
you  about  the  condition  of  the  Seventh  District  Regiment." 

The  young  men  then  stated  the  case.  The  governor 
listened  in  silence.  At  the  end  he  simply  remarked  :  "  The 
matter  will  be  inquired  into." 

Shortly  after  this  the  governor  invited  all  the  commis 
sioned  officers  of  the  regiment  to  come  to  his  office  to 
confer  upon  the  condition  of  the  regiment.  He  said  he 
had  heard  that  a  new  colonel  was  asked  for,  and  he  wished 
to  get  at  the  wishes  of  each  man.  He  thought,  however, 
that,  in  place  of  beginning  with  the  highest  officer  in  rank, 
he  would  reverse  the  order  and  begin  with  the  lowest. 
This  was  a  delicate  way  of  recognizing  that  Lieutenant- 
Colonel  Alexander  was  a  possible  candidate  for  the  posi 
tion.  The  result  of  the  poll  was  a  strong  expression 
of  opinion  in  favor  of  Grant.  The  governor  listened 

Some  ten  or  twelve  citizens  (political  selections)  had 
already  been  appointed  colonels,  and  criticisms  were  not 
wanting.  More  than  this,  it  began  to  look  a  great  deal  like 
war.  The  matter  of  leading  a  regiment  of  soldiers  south 
looked  less  like  a  summer  excursion,  and  candidates  were 
not  quite  so  numerous;  and,  last  of  all,  the  regiment  of 
the  Seventh  District,  under  the  singular  command  of 
Simon  Goode,  had  won  a  hard  reputation  throughout  the 
State,  and  political  colonels  eyed  its  disordered  ranks 
with  a  certain  apprehension.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the 
governor  had  offered  the  colonelcy  to  several  men,  only 
to  have  it  refused.  At  the  end  of  the  statement  of  the 
officers,  he  turned  to  old  Jesse  Dubois,  the  rugged  Auditor 
of  State,  from  whose  district  the  regiment  came,  and  said : 
"  Dubois,  here  are  the  officers  of  your  regiment  asking  for 
Captain  Grant.  Shall  I  appoint  him?" 

And  Dubois,  who  had  seen  something  of  Grant,  replied  : 
"  I  've  no  objection." 

"  Very  well;  telegraph  Colonel  Grant  to  come  on." 


The  "Daily  Register"  of  the  following  day  contains 
the  first  mention  of  Grant's  name:  "  Captain  Grant  of  Jo 
Daviess  County,  formerly  of  the  regular  army,  has  been 
appointed  by  Governor  Yates  colonel  of  the  Seventh  Dis 
trict  Regiment,  now  in  camp  in  Camp  Yates,  in  place  of 
Colonel  Goode." 

Officers  and  men  alike  looked  forward  eagerly  to  the 
arrival  of  Colonel  U.  S.  Grant.  There  was  some  cere 
mony  attending  his  introduction  to  his  new  command. 
John  A.  McClernand  and  John  A.  Logan,  members  of 
Congress,  were  in  the  city,  and  were  both  invited  to  speak 
to  the  troops.  Colonel  Grant  had  never  met  either  of 
these  gentlemen,  though  he  knew  of  them  as  prominent 
politicians.  McClernand  he  believed  to  be  a  fervid  Union 
man,  but  of  Logan  he  was  a  little  doubtful.  It  was  Logan 
who  accompanied  Colonel  Grant  to  the  camp,  and  on  the 
way  out  said : 

"  Colonel,  the  regiment  is  a  little  unruly.  Do  you 
think  you  can  manage  them  ?  " 

"  I  think  I  can,"  was  the  quiet  reply. 

In  the  amphitheater  of  the  State  fair-grounds,  which 
formed  Camp  Yates,  they  found  the  troops  assembled  like 
an  audience,  ready  to  enjoy  and  applaud  the  speeches  of  the 
famous  orators,  and  incidentally  to  greet  their  new  colonel. 

McClernand  spoke  first.  After  a  vigorous  and  florid 
speech  teeming  with  historical  allusion,  he  concluded: 
"  Having  said  this  much,  allow  me,  Illinoisans,  to  present 
to  you  my  friend  and  colleague  in  Congress,  the  Hon. 
John  A.  Logan.  He  is  gifted  with  eloquence,  and  will 
rouse  you  to  feel  as  the  Athenians  felt  under  the  elo 
quence  of  Demosthenes.  They  asked  to  be  immediately 
led  against  Philip." 

Mr.  Logan  was  greeted  with  cheers,  and  in  the  course 
of  his  address  spoke  of  the  vile  partizan  assaults  which 
had  been  made  on  him,  and  urged  that  it  was  the  private 
duty  of  every  man  to  rally  to  the  flag;  and  the  loyalty  of 
his  audience  rolled  back  in  thunderous  applause.  He 
urged  the  regiment,  when  the  time  came  to  exchange 
their  short-time  State  service  for  enlistment  in  the  na 
tional  army,  to  move  as  one  man. 

172  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

"  You  can't  fall  out  now,"  he  said  with  a  sudden  change 
of  tone.  "  If  you  go  home  now  to  Mary,  she  will  say, 
'  Why,  Tom,  are  you  home  from  the  war  so  soon  ?  '  '  Yes.' 
'  How  far  did  you  get?  '  '  Mattoon.'  " 

The  sarcasm  in  his  slurring  utterance  of  the  word  "  Mat- 
toon  "  was  answered  by  hearty  laughter — laughter  which 
turned  many  a  holiday  militiaman  into  a  resolute  soldier. 
With  a  final  appeal  to  their  patriotism  and  valor,  he  intro 
duced  and  led  forward  the  imperturbed  colonel,  who  had 
remained  in  changeless  attitude  for  nearly  two  hours  at 
the  back  of  the  platform. 

"  Allow  me  to  present  to  you  your  new  commander, 
Colonel  U.  S.  Grant." 

Many  of  the  soldiers  observed  him  for  the  first  time. 
They  were  astonished  and  disappointed.  Logan  towered 
majestically  erect,  powerful,  handsome,  with  coal-black 
hair  and  flashing  eyes ;  by  his  side  Grant,  in  plain  citizen's 
clothes,  seemed  poor  and  weak.  He  looked  like  a  grave 
and  thoughtful  country  doctor,  who  had  been  weather- 
beaten  in  storms  and  saddened  by  scenes  of  human  suffer 
ing,  and  was  entirely  lacking  in  martial  bearing.  How 
ever,  some  enthusiast  raised  a  cheer,  and  there  were  loud 
calls  for  a  speech. 

"  Grant!    Grant!" 

"  Grant!    A  speech." 

He  walked  a  step  or  two  toward  them,  and  the  men 
became  silent.  They  were  accustomed  to  speeches,  to 
bombastic  appeals,  and  were  eager  to  test  his  quality. 
At  last  he  spoke,  not  loud,  but  clear  and  calm,  and  with 
a  peculiar  quality  and  inflection  which  surprised  and  im 
pressed  every  officer,  and  gave  the  whole  regiment  a  new 
sensation . 

"  MEN,    GO    TO    YOUR    QUARTERS." 

The  men  sat  dazed,  astounded.  It  took  time  to  grasp 
its  entire  significance.  In  the  clip  of  this  man's  lips,  in 
the  clear-cut  utterance  of  his  command,  and  in  the  subtle 
inflection  of  his  voice  was  made  manifest  the  natural  com 
mander  of  men.  The  time  for  oratory  was  past.  The 
period  of  action  had  come. 

As  for  the  veteran  of  Monterey  and  Churubusco,  a  thrill 


of  exultation  ran  through  his  blood.  He  was  poor, — too 
poor  to  buy  a  uniform, — but  he  was  in  command  again, 
and  serving  the  United  States.  Everything  now  took  on 
direction  and  certainty.  He  knew  the  essentially  fine 
quality  of  his  men,  and  felt  confident  of  his  power  to  bring 
them  under  control. 

As  he  stepped  to  the  center  before  the  regiment  that 
night,  the  men  looked  at  one  another  in  amusement,  and 
some  were  so  bold  as  to  jest  in  low  voices  concerning  him. 
He  wore  nothing  military  save  a  pair  of  gray  trousers 
with  a  stripe  running  down  the  outside  seams,  and  an  old 
sword,  which  he  had  found  at  the  arsenal,  such  as  the 
officers  wore  in  the  Mexican  War. 

It  had  been  the  habit  of  Colonel  Goode  to  seize  upon 
the  closing  moment  in  daily  parade  to  make  a  speech, 
and  almost  invariably  to  end  by  saying:  "I  know  this 
regiment,  men  and  officers  alike,  would  march  with  me  to 
the  cannon's  mouth ;  but  to  renew  and  verify  that  pledge, 
the  regiment  will  move  forward  two  paces." 

The  regiment  now  expected  a  speech  from  Colonel 
Grant.  He  returned  the  salute  of  the  adjutant,  and  said 
to  the  aligned  officers : 

"  A  soldier's  first  duty  is  to  learn  to  obey  his  com 
mander.  I  shall  expect  my  orders  to  be  obeyed  as  exactly 
and  instantly  as  if  we  were  on  the  field  of  battle." 

That  was  all,  but  again  those  who  stood  nearest  him 
felt  a  little  thrill  of  the  blood.  His  voice  had  certainly 
precision  and  command  in  it. 

As  the  men  turned  back  to  quarters,  discussion  broke 
forth.  Rustic  jokes  were  passed  upon  him,  and  one  young 
fellow  made  insulting  gestures  behind  his  back.  Another 
daredevil  slipped  up  behind  him,  and  flipped  his  hat  from 
his  head.  Grant  turned  and  said,  "  Young  man,  that  's 
not  very  polite,"  and  walked  on  to  his  quarters. 

"  What  do  they  mean  by  sending  down  a  little  man 
like  that  to  command  this  regiment?"  asked  an  indig 
nant  private.  "  He  can't  pound  dry  sand  in  a  straight 

"  He  may  be  like  a  singed  cat,  more  alive  than  he 
looks,"  said  another. 

!74  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

"Nonsense!  He  can't  make  a  speech.  Look  at  him! 
Look  at  the  clothes  he  wears!  Who  is  he,  anyhow?" 

"  Boys,  let  me  tell  you  something,"  said  a  sergeant.  "  I 
stood  close  enough  to  him  to  see  his  eyes  and  the  set  of 
his  jaw.  I  '11  tell  you  who  he  is :  he  's  the  colonel  of  this 

In  less  than  twenty-four  hours  Colonel  Grant  was  called 
a  "monster,"  a  "fiend."  The  picnic,  the  filibustering 
expedition,  had  become  a  military  regiment  under  military 

A  man  of  action,  of  discipline,  of  war,  of  experience, 
had  assumed  command.  His  lightest  word  was  to  be  con 
sidered.  He  did  not  threaten,  nor  wheedle,  nor  persuade ; 
he  commanded ;  and  in  the  quiet  glance  of  his  blue-gray 
eyes,  in  the  line  of  his  lips,  and  in  the  quick  downward 
inflections  of  his  voice,  there  was  something  inexorable. 
He  was  never  angry,  never  vindictive,  but  he  was  master. 

He  stopped  all  drinking.  He  made  the  picket-line  a 
reality.  He  put  an  end  to  foraging,  arresting  every  in 
subordinate  and  making  him  understand  that  lawlessness 
was  past.  Colonel  Goode  appeared  that  first  night  in  the 
ranks,  and  there  were  camp  rumors  of  insubordination 
brewing;  but  Grant  arrested  all  that  by  ordering  Goode 
from  the  regiment,  and  he  slipped  away  into  obscurity, 
to  be  seen  no  more. 

A  big,  worthless  cur  resisted  arrest  and  defied  the  offi 
cers.  Grant  appeared,  serene  as  ever. 

"What  is  the  matter?" 

"  This  man  persists  in  bringing  liquor  into  camp,  and 
refuses  to  give  it  up." 

"  Put  him  in  the  guard-house." 

"  He  resists  arrest." 

The  man  began  to  swagger.  Grant  bore  down  upon 
him.  There  was  something  in  his  unwavering  eyes  and 
in  his  unfaltering  step  which  made  the  bully  hesitate. 

Grant  seized  him  by  the  collar  and  gave  him  a  quick 
jerk  which  made  him  spin  like  a  top.  Before  he  had 
gathered  his  faculties  together  he  was  hustled  to  the  gate 
and  kicked  into  the  road. 

"  Get  out  of  my  regiment,"  said  the  colonel.     "  I  don't 


want  you  in  it.  You  're  not  worth  disciplining.  If  you 
come  back  I  '11  have  you  shot." 

The  second  morning  there  were  nearly  a  score  of  men 
tied  up  for  leaving  camp  against  orders,  and  for  drunken 
ness  and  disorder,  among  them  a  dangerous  man  called 
"  Mexico,"  who  cursed  his  commander  and  said :  "  For 
every  minute  I  stand  here  I  '11  have  an  ounce  of  your 

"  Gag  that  man,"  said  Grant,  quietly. 

One  by  one,  as  the  hours  passed,  the  other  offenders 
were  released  by  the  officers  of  the  guard ;  but  Grant 
released  Mexico  himself.  He  considered  it  well  to  let  his 
men  know  that  the  bragger  was  harmless. 

This  ended  all  question  of  Grant's  power  to  command 
both  himself  and  his  men.  Recalcitrants  still  read  books 
of  military  regulations,  and  denied  his  right  to  do  this  or 
that ;  but  the  great  majority  of  the  regiment,  being  excel 
lent  men  and  good  soldiers,  welcomed  a  colonel  who  knew 
his  duties  and  the  limits  of  his  command. 

But  even  with  this  first  recognition  of  his  place  and  his 
power  Grant  had  not  escaped  further  humiliation.  He 
had  neither  horse  nor  sword  nor  uniform,  and,  what  was 
worse,  had  no  money  to  buy  them.  His  claim  on  the 
State  was  still  unpaid. 

He  obtained  leave  of  absence,  and  returned  to  Galena 
to  see  his  family  and  to  secure  necessary  equipment.  He 
was  forced  to  borrow  this  money,  and,  for  some  reason, 
to  borrow  it  outside  his  father's  family.  His  old  friend 
and  valiant  defender,  A.  A.  Collins,  once  more  assisted 
him.  He  was  still  in  debt  to  people  in  St.  Louis,  and 
now  assumed  a  further  load  of  three  hundred  dollars 
with  which  to  buy  his  necessary  outfit.  His  father  had 
either  grown  tired  of  lending  money  to  his  improvident 
eldest  son,  or  Colonel  Grant  did  not  care  to  ask  it.  The 
fact  remains  that  he  borrowed  the  money  through  Mr. 

On  the  28th  of  June  the  Seventh  District  Regiment 
was  mustered  in  and  became  the  Twenty-first  Illinois 
Volunteers.  Apparently  little  ceremony  attended  this 
event,  for  no  mention  of  it  appears  in  the  daily  papers; 

176  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

but  the  editor  of  the  "  Register "  speaks  of  visiting  the 
camp  and  finding  the  men  "  buoyant  under  the  command 
of  Colonel  Grant."  They  were  ready  to  move,  and  when 
a  call  was  made  upon  Governor  Yates  by  General  Fremont 
to  send  a  regiment  to  the  northern  part  of  the  State  of 
Missouri,  Grant  said:  "  Send  me." 

"  I  have  no  transportation,"  replied  the  governor. 

"  I  '11  find  transportation,"  was  the  quick  response.  On 
the  2d  of  July  he  issued  his  first  marching  order,  and  on 
the  3d  of  July  the  men  of  the  Twenty-first  Illinois  set 
their  faces  toward  war,  the  first  regiment  to  march  soldier- 
fashion  out  of  the  State. 

Every  day  of  the  march  developed  his  soldierly  qualities. 
He  taught  his  men  how  to  mess,  how  to  take  care  of 
themselves  on  the  march.  He  put  them  to  hard  drill,  and 
stopped  all  straggling.  His  guard- line  cut  off  all  skylark 
ing  of  nights.  He  allowed  no  whisky  in  the  carnp.  And 
yet,  with  all  this  strict  discipline,  he  was  never  angry  nor 
vindictive.  If  he  punished  a  man,  he  did  it  in  a  quiet 
way,  and  in  a  spirit  which  did  not  enrage  the  one  punished. 
"  He  looked  very  fine  on  horseback  in  his  new  colonel's 
uniform,  and  the  regiment  became  proud  of  him,  well 
knowing  they  had  the  best  commander  and  the  best  regi 
ment  in  the  State." 



A  FEW  of  the  readers  of  the  St.  Louis,  Springfield, 
Galena,  and  Chicago  papers  during  the  summer  of 
1 86 1  followed  Grant  as  he  emerged  step  by  step  from  the 
obscurity  of  the  unnamed  and  little  regarded  into  the  light 
of  editorial  criticism. 

He  first  appeared  as  "  Colonel  Grant,"  and  was  reported 
to  be  on  his  way  to  defend  Missouri  with  a  regiment  of 
Illinois  volunteers.  While  still  a  colonel  he  was  put  in 
command  of  several  regiments  at  Mexico,  Missouri,  and 
there  he  perfected  his  organization  and  brought  his  soldiers 
under  strict  discipline.  Here  he  achieved  his  first  head 
line:  "Colonel  Grant  Moves  against  Harris."  And  in 
this  sudden  blazoning  forth  of  his  name  his  old  acquain 
tances  in  St.  Louis  were  made  aware  of  his  identity. 

During  his  absence,  one  day,  a  telegram  arrived  at  his 
headquarters  in  Mexico,  Missouri,  addressed  to  "  Brigadier- 
General  Grant."  This  superscription  gave  his  subordi 
nates  the  clue,  and  when  he  returned  his  regiment  drew 
up  in  line,  and  raised  their  first  cheer  for  General  Grant. 
It  was  peculiarly  fitting  that  the  Twenty-first  Illinois 
should  use  these  two  words  for  the  first  time  among 
American  soldiers. 

The  message  was  from  the  Hon.  Mr.  Washburne,  say 
ing  :  "  You  have  this  day  been  appointed  by  the  President 
brigadier-general  of  volunteers.  Accept  my  congratula 
tions."  The  Illinois  representatives  had  sent  in  his  name 
together  with  a  batch  of  others,  and  Lincoln,  who  was 


i;8  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

turning  out  brigadiers  in  squads,  had  made  no  exception 
of  Grant.  He  was  commissioned  without  further  indorse 

Immediately  after  his  promotion  General  Grant  was 
put  in  command  of  a  district  at  Ironton,  Missouri,  where 
he  entered  upon  preparations  for  a  campaign  against 
General  Hardee,  and  dreamed  over  maps  and  planned 
great  campaigns  down  the  Mississippi  Valley,  which,  it 
seemed,  he  had  little  chance  of  ever  making  realities;  for 
he  was  still  very  obscure,  and  nobody  believed  in  him 
specially,  save  Editor  Houghton  of  Galena,  Washburne 
in  Washington,  and  the  men  of  the  Twenty-first  Illinois 

Shortly  after  his  promotion  he  went  up  to  St.  Louis, 
and  an  old  friend  speaks  of  seeing  him  at  this  time :  "  I 
found  him  a  very  different  person  from  the  gloomy  man 
I  used  to  know  in  the  streets  of  St.  Louis  a  year  before. 
He  was  in  his  element,  and  was  calm,  alert,  and  confi 

All  through  Missouri  are  men  and  women  willing  to 
testify  to  the  justice  and  courtesy  of  Grant's  command. 
He  stopped  all  pillaging,  and  insisted  that  everything  used 
by  the  army  should  be  paid  for.  He  was  kind  and  ap 
proachable  always,  and  all  petitioners  were  sure  to  get  a 
hearing.  He  had  no  wish  to  impress  upon  any  one  his 
importance  as  commander.  Yet  he  showed  himself  capable 
of  larger  things,  and  men  found  this  out  for  themselves. 
He  never  talked  about  himself,  and  never  asked  pro 

Soon  after  the  receipt  of  his  commission,  and  just  before 
he  was  to  move  against  Hardee,  General  B.  M.  Prentiss 
appeared  at  Ironton,  with  general  orders  from  Fremont 
which  placed  him  in  chief  command  of  all  the  forces  in 
that  district. 

Grant  was  deeply  hurt  and  discouraged  by  this  order, 
which  made  no  mention  of  his  name ;  it  merely  assigned 
Prentiss  to  the  command.  He  could  not  understand  the 
animus  of  this  arbitrary  proceeding,  but  submitted,  merely 
entering  a  protest:  "I  am  your  senior  in  command,  and 
I  do  not  consider  you  are  relieving  me.  I  am  not  bound 


by  military  etiquette  to  obey  you."  He  then  gave  to 
Prentiss  the  situation  of  the  troops,  and  went  to  St.  Louis. 
He  had  great  difficulty  in  seeing  Fremont,  who  also  con 
sidered  him  of  little  account.  Grant  reached  him  at  last, 
and  was  immediately  ordered  to  command  at  Jefferson 

A  few  days  later  Fremont,  in  a  letter  to  Prentiss,  throws 
some  light  upon  his  previous  action : 

When  you  were  ordered  to  go  to  Ironton  and  take  the  place 
of  General  Grant,  who  was  transferred  to  Jefferson  City,  it  was 
under  the  impression  that  his  appointment  was  of  a  later  date 
than  your  own.  By  the  official  list  published  it  appears,  how 
ever,  that  he  is  your  senior  in  rank. 

This  letter  would  seem  to  indicate  that  Grant  laid  his 
case  before  Fremont,  and  pending  investigation  had  been 
placed  in  command  at  Jefferson  City. 

General  Grant  had  organized  his  troops,  and  was  once 
more  ready  to  proceed  to  battle,  this  time  against  Sterling 
Price,  when  he  was  again  relieved.  Colonel  Jeff  C.  Davis 
appeared,  with  an  imperative  order  from  General  Fremont 
which  required  Grant  to  report  at  St.  Louis  for  special 
orders.  By  these  special  orders  General  Grant  was 
assigned  the  command  of  all  the  troops  of  southeastern 
Missouri  and  southern  Illinois.  It  gave  to  him  the  com 
mand  of  the  expedition  against  General  Jeff  Thompson, 
and  brought  him  into  the  region  of  great  campaigns. 
Grant  was  profoundly  pleased  at  finding  himself  once  more 
headed  toward  the  Mississippi. 

This  change  of  front  was  the  outcome  (according  to  the 
testimony  of  Montgomery  Blair)  of  the  plan  of  a  Missis 
sippi  campaign  which  Grant  had  sent  to  the  President  in 
early  May,  through  the  kindness  of  Governor  Yates.  At 
a  cabinet  meeting  friends  of  General  Grant  asked  that  he 
be  put  in  command  at  Cairo,  and  Lincoln,  recalling  Grant's 
name  and  plan,  readily  agreed  to  make  the  suggestion  to 

Cairo,  at  the  time  Brigadier- General  Grant  assumed 
command  of  the  district,  was  a  small,  low-lying  town  built 

180  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

along  the  river.  It  was  not  a  sightly  town,  and  it  was 
an  extremely  disloyal  town,  filled  with  rough  river-men, 
gamblers,  and  roustabouts  from  the  four  great  rivers  which 
center  in  this  region.  The  one  tolerable  hotel,  the  St. 
Charles,  fronted  the  levee,  and  there  General  Grant  took 
up  his  headquarters. 

His  office  consisted  of  a  suite  of  rooms  in  a  business 
block  a  short  distance  up  the  street.  Its  windows  fronted 
on  the  wide  river,  and  there  he  spent  his  quiet  hours, 
smoking  his  long  pipe,  and  gazing  abstractedly  out  upon 
the  water,  with  a  map  upon  his  knees,  planning  battles  to 
open  the  Mississippi.  He  was  a  great  student  of  maps, 
and  they  formed  a  large  part  of  his  wall  decorations. 
"  He  had  not  a  single  trained  soldier  or  officer  of  the  reg 
ular  army  under  his  command.  Officers  and  men  alike 
required  instruction.  He  was  busy  from  morning  till 
night, — and  frequently  from  night  till  morning, — writing 
orders,  indorsing  papers,  and  doing  other  work  that  fell  to 
him."  He  had  few  leisure  hours. 

All  accounts  agree  that  the  townspeople  of  Cairo  were 
surprised  at  the  unmilitary  port  and  methods  of  the 
general.  They  were  accustomed  to  the  pomp  and  cere 
mony  of  militia  colonels,  and  the  excited  charging  to  and 
fro  of  would-be  Napoleons  who  were  already  on  the 
ground.  Colonel  Oglesby,  who  was  in  command  of  the 
post,  on  being  approached  by  Grant  the  first  time,  took 
him  to  be  a  "  refugee  who  had  blown  into  the  place,  in 
need  of  transportation  to  the  North." 

"  I  thought  I  was  something  of  a  Napoleon  myself," 
said  Oglesby,  quaintly.  "  I  had  my  troops  spread  out  all 
over  the  country,  and  had  aides  coming  and  going,  and 
things  in  military  order,  when  in  comes  this  small,  rusty- 
coated  man,  and  sits  down  at  my  table  and  begins  to 
write  orders.  It  did  n't  take  me  long  to  find  out  that  I 
did  not  know  much  about  war,  after  all." 

But  in  general  the  citizens  of  Cairo  knew  very  little 
about  General  Grant.  He  attended  strictly  to  his  military 
duties,  and,  though  always  approachable,  was  an  ab 
stracted,  silent  man,  absorbed  in  his  own  affairs,  and  little 
mindful  of  social  claims.  In  a  few  days  his  coming  and 


going  attracted  little  notice.  He  wore  no  uniform,  and 
used  the  least  possible  military  ceremony  consistent  with 
good  discipline. 

He  sent  for  John  A.  Rawlins  (the  fervid  orator  of  the 
first  war  meeting  in  Galena)  to  become  assistant  adjutant- 
general  on  his  staff.  Rawlins  proved  a  very  capable  man, 
and  lifted  from  his  chief's  shoulders  a  great  deal  of  the 
business  routine  of  the  office.  Lieutenant  J.  D.  Webster, 
an  able  soldier  who  had  accompanied  the  first  regiment 
from  Chicago  to  Cairo,  became  adviser  and  chief  of  staff. 

Brigadier- General  Grant  demonstrated  at  once  his  com 
prehension  of  the  situation.  The  second  day  after  taking 
command  a  scout  came  in  and  reported  a  force  of  Con 
federates  moving  northward  to  take  Paducah,  which  was 
at  the  mouth  of  the  Tennessee  River,  only  a  short  distance 
above  Cairo.  It  was  the  gate  to  a  great  waterway,  and 
Grant  perceived  at  once  the  importance  of  its  capture. 
He  telegraphed  Fremont  for  permission  to  take  it.  He 
received  no  reply,  but  nevertheless  began  to  arrange  for 
the  movement.  He  telegraphed  later  in  the  day,  with  all 
preparations  made,  saying :  "  Unless  I  hear  from  you  to 
the  contrary,  I  shall  move  on  Paducah  to-night." 

Not  hearing  a  word  from  Fremont,  at  about  half-past 
ten  at  night  he  said  to  his  staff :  "  I  will  take  Paducah,  if 
I  lose  my  commission  by  it." 

He  took  possession  of  the  town  early  next  morning, 
without  firing  a  gun.  A  force  of  the  enemy  estimated  at 
four  thousand  strong  was  actually  on  the  way,  and  within 
three  hours'  march  of  the  city,  when  the  Northern  troops 
entered.  They  turned  back  at  the  news  of  Grant's  ap 
proach,  and  Paducah  was  saved  to  the  Union.  This  was 
the  first  town  he  had  ever  entered  in  hostile  manner, 
himself  in  sole  command,  and  he  felt  it  due  to  the  citizens 
to  explain  his  presence.  On  September  6  he  issued  an 
address  to  the  citizens: 



I  have  come  among  you,  not  as  an  enemy,  but  as  your  friend 
and  fellow-citizen  ;  not  to  injure  or  annoy  you,  but  to  respect  the 

1 82  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

rights  and  defend  and  enforce  the  rights  of  all  loyal  citizens. 
An  enemy  in  rebellion  against  our  common  government  has 
taken  possession  of  and  planted  its  guns  upon  the  soil  of  Kentucky 
and  fired  upon  our  flag.  Hickman  and  Columbus  are  in  his 
hands ;  he  is  moving  upon  your  city.  I  am  here  to  defend  you 
against  this  enemy,  and  to  assert  and  maintain  the  authority  and 
sovereignty  of  your  government  and  mine.  I  have  nothing  to 
do  with  opinions.  I  deal  only  with  armed  rebellion  and  its  aiders 
and  abettors.  You  can  pursue  your  usual  avocations  without 
fear  or  hindrance.  The  strong  arm  of  the  government  is  here 
to  protect  its  friends  and  to  punish  only  its  enemies.  Whenever 
it  is  manifest  that  you  are  able  to  defend  yourselves,  to  maintain 
the  authority  of  your  government  and  protect  the  rights  of  all  its 
loyal  citizens,  I  shall  withdraw  the  forces  under  my  command 
from  your  city.  U.  S.  GRANT. 

This  prompt  action  and  noble  proclamation  turned  the 
tide  of  the  State's  sentiment  toward  union. 

Lincoln,  reading  this  dignified  address,  said :  "  The 
man  who  can  write  like  that  is  fitted  to  command  in  the 
West."  It  bore  out  the  remarkable  statement  of  Editor 
Houghton  of  the  Galena  "Gazette":  "Just  men  like 
General  Grant  can  put  down  this  rebellion ;  vindictive 
men  never  can."  And  in  the  House  of  Representatives, 
Richardson  of  Illinois  said,  in  relation  to  making  Grant  a 
major-general :  "  I  wish  that  proclamation  could  be  written 
in  letters  of  gold  on  the  sky,  that  everybody  might  read 
it."  Thus  Washburne  was  not  alone  in  his  indorsement 
of  Grant. 

Grant  returned  to  Cairo,  leaving  only  a  garrison  at 
Paducah.  His  troops  were  eager  to  fight.  Some  of  the 
officers  were  afraid  the  war  would  be  over  before  they 
could  distinguish  themselves  sufficiently  to  go  to  Congress 
on  the  strength  of  their  military  career.  They  held  in 
mind  Jackson  and  Harrison  and  Taylor,  and  they  desired 
to  make  war  a  short  cut  to  political  glory. 

Grant  also  was  quite  ready  to  fight,  and  the  chance 
came  early  in  November.  Up  to  that  time  Fremont  had 
refused  to  allow  him  any  independent  movement;  but 
upon  taking  the  field  against  Price  in  Missouri,  he  felt  it 
necessary  to  have  Grant  make  a  "  diversion "  to  keep 


General  Polk,  who  was  at  Columbus,  from  sending  rein 
forcements  to  Price.  This  diversion  resulted  in  the  battle 
of  Belmont,  which  was  successful,  from  Grant's  point  of 
view,  as  it  prevented  Folk's  reinforcing  Price. 

The  Confederates  held  Columbus,  a  small  village  some 
twenty  miles  below  Cairo,  and  had  intrenched  on  the 
opposite  or  western  side  of  the  river.  Grant,  with 
McClernand  second  in  command  (and,  to  the  citizens  of 
Cairo,  equal  in  command),  left  headquarters  at  about  dusk 
on  the  6th  of  November,  and  swung  into  the  current.  No 
one  knew  what  was  to  be  done,  but  as  the  transports 
moved  on  down  the  river  the  men  said  exultantly : 
"  We  're  going  to  take  Columbus." 

Grant's  boats  lay  on  the  river  above  Belmont  till  dawn. 
At  early  light  he  disembarked  his  troops  and  moved 
against  the  enemy,  whose  ranks  fell  back.  The  Union 
troops  pressed  on  bravely,  and  after  four  hours'  fighting 
carried  the  camp  of  the  Confederates,  and  drove  them  to 
the  river,  where  they  cowered  behind  the  steep  banks, 
awaiting  capture. 

But  now  began  a  singular  yet  natural  action.  The 
Union  men  lost  their  heads  in  joy  and  self-glorification. 
The  entire  Confederacy  had  fallen!  "  This  ends  it,"  they 
cried  exultantly  to  one  another,  and  went  about  shaking 
hands  and  shouting  with  joy,  while  some  of  the  officers 
seized  the  opportunity  to  make  flamboyant  political 
addresses  to  those  who  would  listen.  Others  fell  upon 
the  camp  and  began  to  "appropriate"  the  spoils.  All 
order  disappeared.  The  men  at  this  stage  of  the  war 
were  all  generals,  and  they  inferred  Grant's  plan  to  have 
been  the  capture  and  defense  of  this  point — which  was 
impossible  with  the  force  at  his  command. 

Grant,  however,  was  too  old  a  soldier  to  be  caught  thus. 
The  veteran  of  Cerro  Gordo  and  Molino  del  Rey  did 
not  lose  his  head  in  a  skirmish.  He  saw  long  lines  of 
gray  soldiers  forming  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  river; 
he  saw  transports  swinging  to,  ready  to  disembark  troops ; 
and  he  knew  the  batteries  across  the  river  would  open  as 
soon  as  the  true  state  of  affairs  became  known  to  the 
Confederate  commanders.  Therefore  he  tried  to  rally  the 

1 84  LIFE   OF    GRANT 

men.  He  rode  among  his  officers,  saying :  "  Get  your 
men  into  line.  We  must  get  out  of  this." 

But  the  confusion  and  tumult  prevented  the  men  from 
hearing  or  heeding  the  commands  of  the  officers.  The 
situation  called  for  decisive  measures. 

"  Fire  the  tents"  said  the  general  to  an  aide. 

The  tents  were  fired,  and  as  the  smoke  rolled  over  the 
trees  the  batteries  of  Columbus  opened,  and  began  to 
heave  "  two-gallon  jugs  of  grape-shot "  into  the  mob  of 
blue-coats.  This  brought  the  men  to  their  senses.  They 
dropped  their  spoils,  and  became  as  panic-stricken  as 
they  had  been  vainglorious  a  moment  before.  A  rush 
toward  the  boats  began. 

But  their  delay  had  allowed  the  enemy  to  send  troops 
across  below  and  take  position  behind  the  Union  forces 
and  between  them  and  the  boats.  A  column  of  Confed 
erates  appeared  at  the  right,  marching  to  intercept  them, 
and  soon  another  was  seen  on  the  left. 

"  My  God,  we  're  surrounded!  "  cried  one  of  the  officers 
in  Grant's  hearing. 

"  We  cut  our  way  in,  and  we  can  cut  our  way  out," 
was  the  grim  reply ;  and  so,  in  passable  order  and  under 
sharp  firing,  the  troops  fought  their  way  back  to  the  boats. 

There,  while  the  embarking  of  the  wounded  was  taking 
place,  Grant  rode  back  alone  to  visit  a  rear-guard  he  had 
posted.  He  was  amazed  to  find  they  had  fled  to  the 
boats.  This  reconnoitering  nearly  led  to  his  capture,  for 
when  he  came  back  the  boats  were  under  brisk  fire  of 
the  enemy's  musketry,  and  were  struggling  to  get  out 
into  the  stream,  each  with  the  landward  wheel  spinning 
uselessly  in  the  air,  the  far  side  being  overcrowded  with 
fleeing  soldiery.  The  general's  uniform  was  covered  by 
a  sort  of  rain-coat,  and  his  boat's  captain  gave  him  no 
thought,  and  was  steaming  away  when  an  officer  cried 
out:  "  Put  in  your  boat;  that  is  General  Grant." 

There  was  no  path  down  the  steep  bank,  but  Grant's 
marvelous  command  over  horses  came  into  use.  At  his 
word,  the  horse  put  his  fore  feet  over  the  bank,  slid  down 
the  sand  on  his  haunches,  and  trotted  aboard  over  a  single 
gang-plank.  This  ended  the  battle  of  Belmont,  which  is 


forever  memorable  to  the  South  as  "  one  victory,  at  least, 
over  General  Grant." 

Returning  to  Cairo,  Grant  set  himself  to  drilling,  pro 
visioning,  and  otherwise  preparing  his  army  for  active 
service.  He  was  eager  to  push  on  to  the  South.  Ho 
wished  to  get  possession  of  the  Tennessee  and  Cumberland 
rivers  before  the  enemy  had  time  to  reinforce  and  fortify. 
But  while  General  Fremont  had  been  ill  disposed  to  take 
suggestions,  his  successor,  who  had  just  assumed  chief 
command  in  the  West,  General  H.  W.  Halleck,  was  even 
more  reluctant  to  allow  Grant  to  move  on  his  own 

Grant  appealed  to  General  Halleck  at  once  to  be  allowed 
to  advance  on  Forts  Henry  and  Donelson,  the  fortifica 
tions  which  held  the  Tennessee  and  Cumberland  rivers. 
Halleck  did  not  reply,  and  little  was  done  during  Decem 
ber  but  "  prepare  for  war." 

On  the  6th  of  January  Grant  went  to  St.  Louis  to  see 
General  Kalleck  in  person  about  this  movement,  and 
incidentally  to  visit  his  old  homes  in  Gravois  and  bt. 
Louis.  This  home-coming  was  not  without  a  certain 
gratification.  His  command  was  growing;  he  now  con 
trolled  an  important  military  district,  and  his  troops  were 
ready  for  action.  At  the  home  of  his  friends  he  came 
in  contact  once  more  with  those  who  had  pitied  and 
patronized  him  only  a  year  before.  He  sat  at  the  same 
fire  with  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Boggs,  no  longer  a  penniless, 
despairing  man,  but  the  alert  and  masterful  general  of 
ten  thousand  men.  Mrs.  Boggs  now  felt  her  home  to  be 
all  too  humble  for  the  use  of  General  Grant  and  the  dis 
tinguished  friends  who  called  to  do  him  honor. 

He  found  his  neighbors  in  Gravois  still  largely  seces- 
sional  in  sentiment,  either  openly  or  in  secret;  but  he 
went  about  among  them  freely,  without  body-guard,  and 
to  his  old-time  courtesy  and  manliness  when  a  farmer 
among  them  he  owed  his  escape  from  capture  by  the 
"Knights  of  the  Golden  Circle."  A  few  hotheads  met 
to  plan  his  kidnapping,  but  his  old  neighbors  and  friends 
arose  against  the  plan  and  stopped  it. 

His  trip  was  in  a  sense  a  failure.      Halleck  cut  short  his 

1 86  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

explanation  of  plans  to  take  Fort  Henry,  and  turned  COD 
temptuously  away.      Grant  felt  this  deeply,  for,  though  an 
undemonstrative  man,  he  had  in  fact  a  soul  of  keen  sensi 
bility,  and  felt  discourtesy  as  poignantly  as  though  it  were 
a  lash. 

Meanwhile  he  was  slowly  gaining  recognition  in  the 
West.  Here  and  there  a  newspaper  correspondent  began 
to  perceive  something  worth  while  in  the  "  silent  general." 
His  command  was  an  important  one,  and  his  family  and 
friends  were  highly  surprised  and  delighted  at  the  distinc 
tion  he  had  attained.  His  father  came  to  see  him,  in 
a  transport  of  returning  pride  in  Ulysses.  Nevertheless, 
he  warned  him  :  "  Now,  Ulysses,  you  have  a  good  position, 
I  hope  you  will  let  well  enough  alone."  But  Mrs.  Grant, 
who  had  never  lost  faith  in  him,  said :  "  Ulysses  can  fill 
any  position  he  is  called  to."  He  was  paying  his  debts 
in  St.  Louis  and  Galena,  and  his  wife  and  children  were 
thriving  and  happy.  War  has  its  human  recompenses, 
after  aiL 



IN  spite  of  Halleck's  rebuff,  Grant  returned  again  to  his 
plan  to  attack  Fort  Henry.  He  was  not  a  man  to 
allow  pique  to  stand  in  the  way  of  a  great  enterprise.  He 
laid  the  matter  before  Commodore  Foote,  who  was  in 
command  of  the  flotilla  of  newly  finished  gunboats  then 
lying  at  Cairo  ;  and  the  commodore,  being  much  impressed 
both  with  Grant  and  his  plans,  joined  him  in  the  request 
to  attack  the  fort. 

At  last  Halleck  consented.  Immediately  upon  receiving 
the  word  Grant  began  to  move.  On  the  5th  of  February 
he  advanced  against  Fort  Henry.  It  capitulated  the  next 
day,  and  he  telegraphed  Halleck  the  news,  giving  full 
credit  to  Commodore  Foote :  "  Fort  Henry  is  ours.  The 
gunboats  silenced  the  batteries  before  the  investment 
was  completed."  And  then,  with  a  spirit  which  had  not 
before  appeared  in  the  Northern  army,  he  said :  "  I  shall 
take  and  destroy  Fort  Donelson  on  the  8th,  and  return 
to  Fort  Henry."  And  this  he  would  have  done  had  not 
nature  laid  a  strong  restraining  hand  upon  his  plans. 

In  place  of  swift  advance  across  the  twelve  miles  of 
land  which  divided  the  two  rivers  and  their  forts,  a  period 
of  annoying  delay  intervened,  accompanied  by  much 
suffering  on  the  part  of  the  troops.  Violent  storms  arose. 
Grant  was  in  an  agony  of  impatience,  yet  nothing  could 
be  done  but  wait.  The  roads  were  swimming  in  water ; 
"  the  infantry  could  hardly  march,  and  to  move  artillery 
was  impossible."  He  had  only  about  fifteen  thousand 
men,  and  had  orders  from  Halleck  to  hold  Fort  Henry 


1 88  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

and  to  intrench,  though  he  felt  that  "  fifteen  thousand  men 
were  worth  more  on  the  I2th  than  fifty  thousand  men  a 
little  later." 

At  last  he  moved  out  of  Fort  Henry,  calm  and  resolute, 
although  approaching  a  battle  before  which  all  his  com 
mands  and  all  his  Mexico  campaigns  were  insignificant. 
Fort  Henry  had  been  a  gunboat  victory,  but  now  his  little 
army  was  marching  against  twenty-one  thousand  men 
strongly  intrenched.  The  unavoidable  delay  had  allowed 
the  enemy  to  reinforce  by  boat  from  Nashville. 

Halleck  had  conferred  with  Brigadier-General  W.  T. 
Sherman,  who  was  at  that  time  in  St.  Louis,  and  issued 
an  order  assigning  Sherman  to  command  of  the  District 
of  Cairo,  and  making  Grant  commander  of  the  District 
of  West  Tennessee.  He  was  calling  loudly  for  more 
troops  to  reinforce  Grant,  for  he  could  not,  on  his  own 
account,  afford  to  see  the  attack  of  Donelson  fail.  He 
sent  General  W.  T.  Sherman  to  Paducah  to  act  as  for 
warding  officer  there,  and  wired  General  D.  C.  Buell,  who 
was  commanding  the  Army  of  the  Ohio  in  Kentucky : 
"  Come  and  help  me  take  Donelson." 

When  Grant  invested  the  fort  the  first  day  he  had  only 
General  McClernand  and  General  C.  F.  Smith  with  him 
— about  fifteen  thousand  men.  Commodore  Foote  had 
not  arrived,  and  General  Lew  Wallace  was  on  the  road. 
This  showed  the  spirit  of  Grant's  command.  He  did  not 
hesitate  to  assume  the  responsibility  of  besieging  twenty- 
one  thousand  Confederates,  strongly  intrenched.  Here 
was  soldierly  promptness,  dash,  and  grit.  He  was  cut 
off  from  Halleck  and  the  War  Department,  and  master 
of  everything  in  the  field.  Gideon  J.  Pillow,  the  senior  in 
command  of  the  Confederate  forces,  was  a  Mexican  War 
veteran.  Grant  knew  him,  and  had  no  fear  of  him. 

Halleck  telegraphed  Grant  to  "  strengthen  the  land  side 
of  Fort  Henry,  and  transfer  guns  to  resist  a  land  attack," 
at  the  very  time  the  army  was  closing  relentlessly  round 
Donelson,  under  Grant's  leadership.  On  the  I3th  there 
was  some  fighting  as  the  besieging  army  moved  into  new 
and  stronger  positions,  but  the  night  was  more  terrible 
than  the  battle  upon  the  troops;  they  were  ordered  to 


sleep  upon  their  arms  and  without  camp-fires.  Sleet  fell, 
and  it  grew  bitterly  cold  toward  morning.  Grant  quar 
tered  in  a  farm-house  at  the  left.  He  slept  little,  being 
apprehensive  of  an  early  attack  before  reinforcements 
could  arrive. 

During  the  night  Commodore  Foote's  fleet  steamed  up, 
and  General  Lew  Wallace  came  marching  in  from  Fort 
Henry,  and  took  position  between  Smith  and  McClernand. 
Grant  was  now  confident.  He  ordered  an  attack  by  the 
gunboats,  while  the  army  held  the  enemy  within  the  lines, 
his  plan  being  to  bag  the  entire  Confederate  army.  The 
gunboats  failed  to  get  above  the  batteries,  however,  and 
were  forced  to  fall  back  disabled,  leaving  the  river  open 
to  the  Confederate  boats. 

That  night  Grant  telegraphed  the  situation :  "  Our 
troops  invest  Donelson.  ...  I  feel  confident  of  success." 
To  General  Cullum,  Halleck's  chief  of  staff,  stationed  at 
Cairo  as  forwarding  officer,  he  wired :  "  Appearances  indi 
cate  now  that  we  will  have  a  protracted  siege."  It  was 
well  the  army  did  not  read  this  telegram,  for  the  storm 
continued,  and  they  were  not  merely  cold,  but  hungry  as 
well.  They  bore  it  all  with  such  cheer  as  a  freezing  and 
starving  soldier  can  muster  to  his  comfort.  Grant  went 
to  bed  thinking  that  he  might  be  obliged  to  bring  up  tents 
and  shovels,  after  all. 

Before  daylight  on  the  I5th  he  received  a  note  from 
Commodore  Foote,  in  command  of  the  flotilla,  asking  him 
to  come  to  the  flag-ship,  as  he  was  too  much  injured  to 
leave  the  boats.  The  general  at  once  mounted  and  rode 
away.  The  roads  were  very  bad,  and  he  could  not  move 
out  of  a  walk.  "  He  came  on  the  boat  wearing  a  battered 
old  hat,  the  muddiest  man  in  the  army.  He  was  chewing 
a  cigar,  and  was  perfectly  cool  and  self-possessed."  He 
found  the  commodore  and  his  boats  about  equally  disabled. 
After  a  conference  with  him,  Grant  gave  him  leave  to 
retire,  and  started  upon  his  return  to  the  front. 

On  his  way  he  met  his  aide,  white  with  alarm  and 
excitement.  "  The  enemy  has  made  a  fierce  attack  on 
the  forces  of  McClernand." 

Grant  set  spur  to  his  horse,  and  left  the  aide  far  behind. 

190  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

He  came  upon  the  scene  of  action,  his  old  clay-bank 
spattering  the  yellow  mud  in  every  direction,  a  most 
welcome  figure.  There  was  need  of  him.  With  cool 
brain  and  keen  eyes,  he  rode  rapidly  along  the  lines.  He 
saw  no  dismay  in  Smith's  division ;  his  command  was 
intact  and  eager  for  battle.  Wallace's  lines  were  in 
order.  But  McClernand,  on  the  right,  had  sustained  a 
heavy  attack,  and  was  still  threatened,  and  the  brave  but 
inexperienced  commander  was  in  consultation  with  General 
Wallace  and  asking  for  reinforcements.  As  Grant  rode 
along  he  saw  the  men  standing  in  knots,  talking  in  a  most 
excited  manner.  "  The  soldiers  had  their  muskets,  but  no 
ammunition,  while  there  were  tons  of  it  near  at  hand." 
They  were  disturbed  and  apprehensive,  just  at  a  point 
where  retreat,  even  rout,  was  possible. 

The  general  heard  one  discouraged  man  say :  "  Why, 
they  have  come  out  to  fight  all  day ;  they  have  got  their 
knapsacks  full  of  grub."  He  turned  quickly.  "  Is  that 
true?  Bring  me  one." 

He  opened  two  or  three,  and  found  three  days'  rations 
in  each.  His  trained  eyes  read  in  all  this  a  different 
story.  In  one  minute  he  showed  himself  a  great  com 

He  turned  to  his  staff,  and  said :  "  They  are  attempting 
to  force  their  way  out.  The  one  who  attacks  first  now 
will  be  victorious."  Then,  to  McClernand  and  Wallace: 
"  Gentlemen,  the  position  of  our  right  must  be  retaken. 
I  shall  order  an  immediate  assault  on  the  left.  Be  ready 
to  advance  at  the  sound  of  Smith's  guns."  As  he  rode 
down  the  line,  his  aide,  at  his  direction,  called  out : 

"Fill  your  cartridge-boxes,  quick,  and  get  into  line! 
The  enemy  is  trying  to  escape,  and  must  not  be  permitted 
to  do  so." 

At  once  the  Union  forces  lined  up,  responsive  to  the 
power  of  unhesitating  leadership.  The  commander  rode 
rapidly  to  the  left,  arranging  a  grand  assault.  He  found 
General  Smith  alert,  with  his  troops  in  order  ready  to 
advance.  "  General,  the  enemy  has  tried  to  force  his  way 
out  on  our  right.  I  think  you  had  better  attack  soon. 
He  has  undoubtedly  weakened  the  line  before  you." 


"  Very  well,  sir,"  replied  Smith ;  "  I  am  ready  to  move 
at  any  time."  Grant  turned  and  rode  again  toward  the 
center.  When  all  was  arranged  he  sent  an  aide  to  tell 
General  Smith  that  he  was  ready. 

"  General  Smith,"  said  the  messenger,  "  you  are  ordered 
to  assault  immediately  and  in  force." 

"Very  well,  sir;  I  am  ready,"  said  the  resolute  old 
warrior;  and  drawing  his  sword,  he  turned  to  his  troops, 
and  said :  "  We  are  ordered  to  attack  the  works  imme 
diately  in  front.  Are  you  all  ready?" 

"We  are!  "  shouted  the  men,  in  reply. 

"  Very  well.  Ready !  Close  ranks !  Charge  bayonets ! 
Double-quick!  Forward,  march  !  "  And  the  left  wing  of 
Grant's  army  advanced.  The  assault  became  general  all 
along  the  line,  and  the  enemy  was  driven  back.  The  con 
ditions  of  the  morning  were  restored;  the  enemy  was 
again  shut  in,  and  night  fell  once  more  upon  the  Union 
forces,  unsheltered  and  hungry,  but  as  confident  now  of 
victory  as  was  their  imperturbable  commander. 

On  the  night  of  the  I5th,  within  the  fort,  a  strange  and 
passionate  drama  was  being  enacted.  The  three  Con 
federate  commanders,  Floyd,  Pillow,  and  Buckner,  held  an 
acrimonious  council.  General  Floyd,  who  had  but  recently 
assumed  command,  begged  leave  to  turn  the  command  over 
to  General  Pillow.  Pillow  declined,  but  was  quite  willing 
that  General  Buckner  should  assume  the  honor  and  do  as 
he  thought  best  in  the  matter.  General  Buckner  was  a 
soldier,  a  graduate  of  West  Point,  and  a  Mexican  War 
veteran.  He  did  not  anticipate  hanging,  provided  he 
surrendered,  and  was  unwilling  to  shed  the  blood  of  his 
soldiers  needlessly.  He  regarded  the  situation  as  one 
warranting  surrender.  He  accepted  the  command,  and 
sat  down  to  write  a  letter  to  Grant. 

General  Pillow  begged  to  know  if  he  were  privileged 
to  depart. 

"  Yes,  provided  you  go  before  the  terms  of  capitulation 
are  agreed  upon,"  was  Buckner's  curt  reply. 

Floyd  seized  two  steamers,  and  escaped  with  about 
three  thousand  men. 

Pillow    fled    in    a    flatboat,    while    Colonel   Forrest,   in 


command  of  the  cavalry,  forded  the  river  and  got  safely 
away  with  a  regiment  of  horse. 

General  Buckner  sturdily  held  his  ground,  but  sent  a 
messenger  to  sue  for  terms ;  and  in  answer  Grant  replied 
in  the  simplest  and  most  direct  manner,  with  no  thought 
of  how  his  letter  would  read  to  any  one  except  General 

No  terms  except  immediate  and  unconditional  surrender  can 
be  accepted.  I  propose  to  move  immediately  upon  your  works. 

Buckner  grumbled  at  these  "  unchivalrous  terms,"  but 
yielded,  and  when  he  met  Grant  within  the  defenses  he 
said,  with  a  bow  and  smile : 

"  General,  as  they  say  in  Mexico,  this  house  and  all  it 
contains  is  yours." 

A  moment  later  Grant  said :  "  I  thought  Pillow  was  in 

"  He  was,"  replied  Buckner. 

"Where  is  he  now?" 

"  Gone." 

"Why  did  he  go?" 

"  Well,  he  thought  you  'd  rather  get  hold  of  him  than 
any  other  man  in  the  Southern  Confederacy." 

"  Oh,"  said  Grant,  quickly,  with  a  smile,  "  if  I  'd  got 
him  I  'd  let  him  go  again.  He  would  do  us  more  good 
commanding  you  fellows!" 

General  Buckner  was  in  fact  the  Captain  Buckner  who 
had  come  to  Grant's  relief  so  handsomely  in  New  York 
in  1854,  when  he  landed  from  his  ship  poor  and  friendless. 
Grant  recalled  this  generous  action,  and  while  he  did  not 
allow  his  gratitude  to  interfere  with  his  duty,  yet  when 
matters  of  the  surrender  were  finally  arranged  he  placed 
his  private  purse  at  General  Buckner's  disposal. 

The  relations  of  the  two  commanders  continued  ami 
cable  to  the  last.  Grant  did  everything  he  could  to  make 
the  men  in  gray  comfortable,  "  showing  himself  a  humane 
and  magnanimous  conqueror." 

With  pardonable  pride,  and  with  something  more  than 
his  usual  expression  of  emotion,  Grant  issued  a  congratu- 


latory  order  to  his  troops,  and  sent  a  despatch  of  mathe 
matical  brevity  to  Halleck  announcing  his  capture  of  Fort 
Donelson.  He  then  sat  down  to  plan  an  immediate 
advance  on  Nashville,  which  was  uncovered  by  the  fall  of 
Donelson.  He  believed  that  the  way  was  open  deep  into 
the  Southern  Confederacy,  and  that  by  prompt  action  the 
battle  of  Donelson  could  be  made  to  mean  a  hundred 
times  more  than  the  mere  capture  of  fifteen  thousand 

Instantly  his  great  victory  flamed  over  the  land.  The 
ringing  of  bells,  the  sound  of  cannon,  the  flare  of  bonfires, 
announced  the  joy  of  the  people  over  the  first  great  suc 
cess  in  the  West.  Horsemen  galloped  up  the  farm  lanes 
with  shouts  of  triumph,  and  the  citizens  came  together  to 
rejoice,  believing  that  the  end  of  the  war  had  come.  Even 
metropolitan  dailies  considered  it  "  the  downfall  of  the 
Confederacy,"  and  suddenly  the  nation  inquired:  "Who 
is  this  man  Grant,  who  fights  battles  and  wins  them  ?  " 



HPHE  victory  of  Donelson  lifted  General  Grant  into 
A  national  fame  in  a  day,  but  it  also  turned  upon  him 
the  burning  light  of  envious  criticism.  All  the  disap 
pointed  contractors,  all  the  jealous  political  soldiers  who 
feared  that  the  war  had  ended  without  making  them  dis 
tinguished,  all  the  sneering  old  army  officers,  turned  to 
and  helped  swell  the  chorus  of  the  "  copperhead  journals  " 
of  the  Northern  States  that  attempted  to  blacken  and  dis 
credit  the  character  and  belittle  the  powers  of  General  Grant 

The  feeling  that  the  war  was  over,  and  that  the  victor 
of  Donelson  was  to  be  the  national  hero,  added  to  the 
zeal  of  his  detractors.  In  the  Eastern  cities  a  discussion 
waxed  bitter  as  to  who  deserved  the  honors  of  Donelson. 
General  McClellan's  friends  claimed  them  for  him  ;  Foote's 
partizans  called  it  a  naval  victory ;  Fremont's  adherents 
mourned  the  injustice  which  had  robbed  him  of  his  rightful 
dues  as  the  projector  of  this  plan ;  Brigadier- General 
McClernand  claimed  to  have  borne  the  brunt  of  it;  and 
Halleck,  after  thanking  everybody  remotely  concerned 
with  the  expedition  except  Grant,  smilingly  appeared  on 
a  hotel  balcony  in  St.  Louis,  and  claimed  the  lion's  share 
for  himself. 

The  one  honorable  exception  was  Secretary  Stanton, 
who  took  no  part  in  the  attempt  to  reap  where  he  had 
not  sown.  He  wrote  at  once  an  open  letter  to  Editor 
Greeley,  disclaiming  the  honor : 

SIR:  I  cannot  suffer  undue  merit  to  be  ascribed  to  my  office 
for  this  action.  The  glory  of  our  recent  victories  belongs  to  the 
brave  officers  and  soldiers  that  fought  the  battles.  No  share 



belongs  to  me.  What,  under  the  blessing  of  Providence,  I  con 
ceive  to  be  the  true  organization  of  victory  and  military  com 
bination  to  end  the  war  was  declared  in  a  few  words  by  General 
Grant's  message  to  General  Buckner:  "I  propose  to  move 
immediately  on  your  works." 

This  letter  of  Stanton's  did  more  to  fix  the  fame  of 
"  Unconditional  Surrender  Grant "  in  the  minds  of  the 
people  than  any  other  one  cause  at  that  time. 

From  all  that  appears,  Halleck  had  been  anxious  to 
have  any  one  but  Grant  wear  the  great  honors  of  the 
victory.  In  his  excited  manceuvering  for  position,  he 
had  telegraphed  Commodore  Foote  on  the  nth:  "Make 
your  name  famous  by  the  capture  of  Fort  Donelson  and 
Clarksville  "  ;  and  after  the  capture  of  Donelson  he  had 
telegraphed  Stanton :  "  Make  Smith  major-general,  and 
all  the  country  will  applaud  you."  He  now  sent  a  tele 
gram  of  congratulation  to  General  Hunter  in  Kansas, 
thanking  him  for  promptness  in  sending  reinforcements ; 
he  also  forwarded  congratulatory  messages  to  Commodore 
Foote,  but  not  one  word  of  congratulation  to  Grant. 

At  midnight  of  the  2Oth,  as  General  Grant  and 
Commodore  Foote  were  finishing  the  details  of  an  imme 
diate  movement  on  Nashville,  a  telegram  from  Halleck 
arrived,  forbidding  gunboats  to  move  above  Clarksville. 
Grant  read  the  message  in  silence,  and  passed  it  to  Com 
modore  Foote.  Foote  said :  "  Well,  that  ends  our  move 

Being  anxious,  however,  to  know  what  had  happened 
at  Nashville,  Grant  next  proceeded  to  Nashville  in  a 
single  transport  to  meet  and  confer  with  Buell.  He  con 
sidered  this  entirely  within  his  province ;  but  Halleck  was 
pleased  to  consider  it  "  leaving  command  without  permis 
sion."  He  had  been  telegraphing  to  Grant  for  several 
days  without  receiving  an  answer,  and  was  very  much 
enraged.  Of  his  excited  telegrams  Grant  was  unaware. 
General  McClellan,  commander-in-chief,  had  been  asking 
Halleck  for  returns  of  his  troops,  and  Halleck,  in  turn, 
had  been  attempting  to  reach  Grant  for  records  of  the 
troops  at  Donelson.  Halleck,  therefore,  reported  to 

196  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

McClellan  that  Grant  had  left  his  command  without 
leave,  and  that  his  troops  were  in  disorder. 

McClellan,  quite  ready  to  believe  ill  things  of  Grant, 
gave  Halleck  power  to  arrest  him,  and  so  in  this  splendid 
moment,  when  everybody  was  sounding  his  praise,  when 
the  question  of  making  him  major-general  was  being 
debated,  and  Congress  was  passing  votes  of  praise  and 
thanks  to  him,  Grant  was  being  disgraced  by  Halleck. 

Upon  his  return  from  Nashville,  some  days  later,  he 
found  this  telegram  awaiting  him: 

You  will  place  General  C.  F.  Smith  in  command  of  expedition, 
and  remain  yourself  at  Fort  Henry.  Why  do  you  not  obey  my 
orders  to  report  strength  and  positions  of  your  command? 

Grant  was  astounded.  He  replied  mildly,  but  with  a 
strong  feeling  of  deep  personal  wrong : 

Your  despatch  of  yesterday  received.  I  did  all  I  could  to 
get  the  returns  of  the  strength  of  my  command.  Every  move  I 
made  was  reported  daily  to  your  chief  of  staff,  who  must  have 
failed  to  keep  you  properly  posted.  I  have  done  my  very  best 
to  obey  orders  and  to  carry  out  the  interests  of  the  service.  If 
my  course  is  not  satisfactory,  remove  me  at  once.  I  do  not 
wish  to  impede  in  any  way  the  success  of  our  armies.  I  have 
averaged  writing  more  than  once  a  day  since  leaving  Cairo  to 
keep  you  informed  of  my  position,  and  it  is  no  fault  of  mine  if 
you  have  not  received  my  letters.  My  going  to  Nashville  was 
strictly  intended  for  the  good  of  the  service,  and  not  to  gratify 
any  desire  of  my  own. 

Believing  sincerely  that  I  must  have  enemies  between  you 
and  myself  who  are  trying  to  impair  my  usefulness,  I  respectfully 
ask  to  be  relieved  from  further  duty  in  the  department. 

Halleck  replied,  March  8 : 

You  are  mistaken.  There  is  no  enemy  between  you  and  me. 
There  is  no  letter  of  yours  stating  number  and  position  of  your 
command  since  capture  of  Donelson.  General  McClellan  has 
asked  for  it  repeatedly  with  reference  to  ulterior  movements,  and 
I  could  not  give  him  the  information.  He  is  out  of  all  patience 
waiting  for  it.  Answer  by  telegraph  in  general  terms. 


Grant  replied : 

I  will  do  all  in  my  power  to  advance  the  expedition  now 
started  [Smith's  expedition  toward  Corinth,  which  was  rightfully 
his  own].  You  had  a  better  chance  for  knowing  my  strength 
whilst  surrounding  Donelson  than  I  had  [through  Sherman  and 
Cullum,  who  were  forwarding  troops].  Troops  were  reporting 
daily  by  your  order,  and  were  immediately  assigned  to  brigades. 
There  were  no  orders  received  from  you  till  the  28th  of  February 
to  make  out  returns,  and  I  made  every  effort  to  get  them  in  as 
early  as  possible.  I  have  always  been  ready  to  move  anywhere, 
regardless  of  consequences  to  myself,  but  with  a  disposition  to 
take  the  best  care  of  the  troops  under  my  command.  I  renew 
my  application  to  be  relieved  from  further  duty.  Returns  have 
been  sent. 

Halleck,  in  reply,  explains  a  little  more  in  detail : 

Your  letter  of  the  5th  instant,  just  received,  contains  the  first 
and  only  information  of  your  actual  forces.  If  you  have  sent 
them  before,  I  have  not  received  them.  General  McClellan 
repeatedly  ordered  me  to  report  to  him  daily  the  numbers  and 
positions  of  your  forces.  This  I  could  not  do,  and  the  fault 
was  certainly  not  mine,  for  I  telegraphed  you  time  and  again 
for  the  information,  but  could  get  no  answer.  This  certainly 
indicated  a  great  want  of  order  and  system  in  your  command, 
the  blame  of  which  was  partially  thrown  on  me,  and  perhaps 
justly,  for  it  is  the  duty  of  every  commander  to  compel  those 
under  him  to  obey  orders  and  to  enforce  discipline.  Don't  let 
such  neglect  occur  again,  for  it  is  equally  discreditable  to  you 
and  to  me.  I  really  felt  ashamed  to  telegraph  back  to  Washing 
ton  time  and  again  that  I  was  unable  to  give  the  strength  of 
your  command. 

On  March  I  i^by  the  President's  war  order,  Halleck  se 
cured  his  ambitious  desire  to  control  all  the  armies  of  the 
Mississippi.  McClellan  became  the  active  commander  of 
the  Army  of  the  Potomac,  and  Halleck  commanded  Buell, 
Hunter,  and  Smith,  with  Grant  still  in  the  background  at 
Fort  Henry  as  forwarding  officer  for  Smith. 

It  was  a  painful  moment  to  General  Grant  as  he  saw 
the  great  army  which  he  had  led  to  victory  steaming  away 

198  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

up  the  river  toward  the  enemy  with  another  man  in  com 
mand.  One  of  his  subordinates  called  to  see  him  at  Fort 
Henry,  and  was  much  moved  by  the  expression  of  deep 
sadness  on  the  face  of  his  general.  He  was  in  great  dejec 
tion.  The  army  he  had  organized  and  led  so  splendidly 
was  passing  out  of  his  hands. 

"  After  alluding  to  his  position,  the  general  took  from 
his  pocket  Halleck's  curt  despatch.  When  his  friend 
looked  up  from  reading  it  he  saw  tears  on  General  Grant's 
face.  He  said  mournfully :  '  I  don't  know  what  they 
mean  to  do  with  me.'  Then  he  added  with  a  sad  cadence 
in  his  voice :  '  What  command  have  I  now  ?  '  " 

Tears  on  the  face  of  Ulysses  Grant  meant  the  keenest 
suffering.  All  seemed  lost  a  second  time  in  his  life. 

But  the  chief  man  of  the  nation  now  took  a  personal 
interest  in  the  case.  He  sent  for  men  who  knew  Grant 
personally,  and  satisfied  himself  that  an  injustice  had  been 
done.  On  the  loth  of  March,  while  Grant  was  being  held 
in  disgrace  at  Fort  Henry,  the  adjutant-general  wrote  to 
Halleck  in  a  calm  and  fateful  way,  saying  that  the  Presi 
dent  wished  General  Halleck  to  investigate  and  report  at 
once.  Halleck  at  once  acknowledged  his  previously  hasty 
action,  and  completely  exonerated  Grant: 

I  am  satisfied  from  investigation  that  General  Grant  acted 
from  good  intentions  and  from  a  desire  to  subserve  the  public 

General  Grant  has  made  the  proper  explanations,  and  has 
been  directed  to  resume  his  command  in  the  field.  As  he  acted 
from  a  praiseworthy  but  mistaken  zeal  for  the  public  service  in 
going  to  Nashville  and  leaving  his  command,  I  respectfully 
recommend  that  no  further  notice  be  taken  of  it.  There  never 
has  been  any  want  of  military  subordination  on  the  part  of 
General  Grant,  and  his  failure  to  make  returns  of  his  forces  has 
been  explained  as  resulting  partly  from  the  failure  of  colonels  of 
regiments  to  report  to  him  on  their  arrival,  and  partly  from  an 
interruption  of  telegraphic  communication.  All  these  irregu 
larities  have  now  been  remedied. 

Halleck,  now  in  fine  fettle  over  his  promotion  to  chief 
command  in  the  West,  and  understanding  that  Lincoln 


had  laid  strong  hand  upon  affairs,  answered  Grant's 
repeated  desire  to  be  relieved  till  such  time  as  his  case 
could  go  before  the  higher  authorities,  by  saying: 

You  cannot  be  relieved  of  your  command.  There  is  no  good 
reason  for  it.  I  am  certain  that  all  which  the  authorities  at 
Washington  ask  is  that  you  enforce  discipline  and  punish  the 
disorderly.  The  power  is  in  your  hands ;  use  it,  and  you  will 
be  sustained  by  all  above  you.  Instead  of  relieving  you,  I  wish 
you,  as  soon  as  your  new  army  is  in  the  field,  to  assume  the 
immediate  command  and  lead  it  on  to  new  victories. 

To  this  Grant  made  grateful  answer.  He  had  no  means 
of  knowing  from  what  source  this  change  came. 

After  your  letter  inclosing  copy  of  anonymous  letter  upon 
which  severe  censure  was  based,  I  felt  as  though  it  would  be 
impossible  for  me  to  serve  longer  without  a  court  of  inquiry. 
[He  did  not  know  that  Lincoln  had  ordered  an  investigation.] 
Your  telegram  of  yesterday,  however,  places  such  a  different 
phase  upon  my  position  that  I  will  again  assume  command,  and 
give  every  effort  to  the  success  of  our  cause.  Under  the  worst 
circumstances  I  would  do  the  same. 

P.  S.  Since  the  writing  of  above  yours  of  the  9th  instant  is 
received.  I  certainly  received  but  one  telegraphic  despatch,  up 
to  the  28th  of  February,  to  furnish  reports  of  my  strength. 

This  ended,  for  the  time,  Halleck's  attempt  to  degrade 
and  subordinate  Grant. 

Grant  at  once  took  passage  up  the  river  to  join  his  army, 
and  made  his  headquarters  at  a  little  hamlet  called  Savan 
nah,  a  few  miles  below  the  place  where  the  army  had  been 
disposed  by  General  C.  F.  Smith.  Pittsburg  Landing 
was  merely  the  terminus  of  a  road  at  a  wharf  at  which 
steamers  could  land.  The  road,  an  ordinary  dirt  road, 
came  down  a  ravine  to  a  couple  of  log  huts.  The  army 
was  debarked  on  the  southwest  side  of  the  river  at  this 
point  because  of  its  nearness  to  Corinth,  where  the  Con 
federate  forces  were  again  assembling. 

Grant  had  such  loyal  regard  for  General  Smith's  ability 
that  he  made  no  change  in  the  disposition  of  the  forces, 

200  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

although  he  might  not  have  chosen  this  spot  for  debarka 
tion.  It  was,  in  fact,  a  fairly  strong  position.  There  was 
a  deep  creek  on  either  hand,  and  the  river  at  the  back 
made  attack  possible  only  from  the  front.  Sherman  was 
in  advance.  Delay  was  dangerous,  and  Grant's  desire 
was  to  advance;  but  he  was  under  Halleck's  absolute 
command,  and  by  his  orders  he  lay  waiting  at  Pittsburg 
Landing  for  the  coming  of  Buell's  army  from  Kentucky, 
while  Albert  Sidney  Johnston,  a  brilliant  and  powerful 
Southern  leader,  hurried  his  ranks  together,  and  pushed 
forward  to  crush  the  Union  army  before  Buell's  troops 
could  arrive.  It  was  a  bold  and  soldierly  movement,  and 
was  not  expected  by  the  people  of  the  North ;  yet  every 
indication  of  a  great  battle  was  in  the  reports  between 
Grant,  Halleck,  and  Sherman.  Halleck  had  ordered 
Buell,  who  commanded  the  Army  of  the  Ohio,  to  join 
Grant ;  the  latter  was  on  the  road,  and  his  advance-guard 
was  expected  at  any  hour. 




N  the  5th  of  April  Grant  wrote  from  Savannah  to 
Buell : 

Your  despatch  received.  I  will  be  here  to  meet  you  to 

And  from  Pittsburg  Landing  Sherman  wrote : 

All  is  quiet  along  my  lines  now.  We  are  in  the  act  of 
exchanging  cavalry,  according  to  your  order.  The  enemy  has 
cavalry  on  our  front,  and  I  think  there  are  two  regiments  of 
infantry  and  one  battery  of  artillery  about  two  miles  out. 

A  little  later  Sherman  sends  another  word : 

Your  note  just  received.  I  have  no  doubt  nothing  will  occur 
to-day  more  than  some  picket-firing.  The  enemy  is  saucy,  but 
got  the  worst  of  it  yesterday,  and  will  not  press  our  pickets  far. 
I  will  not  be  drawn  out  far  unless  with  certainty  of  advantage, 
and  I  do  not  apprehend  anything  like  an  attack  on  our  position. 

With  these  words  of  Sherman  to  ease  his  mind  Grant 
remained  undisturbed  at  his  headquarters  at  Savannah 
on  the  night  of  the  5th.  Sherman  was  an  older  man,  a 
keen  and  experienced  soldier,  and  could  be  trusted  to 
keep  the  advance-guard.  His  troops  were  raw,  but  his 
own  sagacity  and  alertness  were  unquestioned  by  his 
chief;  and  yet  at  the  time  Sherman  was  writing  those 
assuring  notes  the  entire  Confederate  army  was  encamped 
but  a  short  distance  away,  ready  to  attack  in  force. 


202  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

It  was  an  ominous  night,  dark,  foggy,  and  windless. 
Grant  was  in  great  pain  from  a  bruised  ankle.  His  horse 
(during  a  trip  to  the  front  on  the  evening  of  the  4th)  had 
slipped  on  a  smooth  log,  and  in  falling  had  crushed  the 
general's  ankle.  His  boot  had  to  be  cut  from  his  foot,  so- 
enormously  had  the  limb  swollen,  and  he  could  not  walk 
without  crutches. 

He  was  early  astir.  It  was  Sunday  morning  in  April, 
and  nature  was  tuned  to  nothing  harsher  than  the  caw  of 
the  crow,  the  songs  of  the  birds,  and  the  ringing  of  church 
bells.  The  sun  rose  warm  but  veiled  in  fog.  But  while 
the  general  was  at  breakfast,  through  the  soft,  damp, 
fragrant  air  came  a  faint,  far-off,  jarring  sound. 

"  General,"  said  Webster,  his  chief  of  staff,  "  that  is  the 
noise  of  cannon." 

"  It  sounds  very  much  like  it,"  said  Grant,  and  went  on 
with  his  breakfast,  though  the  sound  thickened. 

An  orderly  came  in,  and,  saluting,  said : 

"  General,  there  is  terrific  firing  up  the  river." 

By  the  time  they  had  finished  breakfast  the  earth 
shook  with  the  distant  tumult  of  monstrous  cannon.  The 
Sabbath-day  slaughter  had  begun. 

As  the  general  listened,  Webster  asked:  "Where  is  it? 
Crump's  Landing  or  Pittsburg?" 

"  That  is  what  I  am  trying  to  determine.  I  think  it  is 
Pittsburg.  Orderly,  take  these  horses  to  the  boat,  and 
tell  the  captain  to  fire  up  at  once.  Come,  gentlemen;  it 
is  time  to  move." 

He  wrote  a  note  to  General  Buell : 

Heavy  firing  is  heard  up  the  river,  indicating  plainly  that  an 
attack  has  been  made  upon  our  most  advanced  positions.  I  have 
been  looking  for  this,  but  did  not  believe  the  attack  could  be 
made  before  Monday  or  Tuesday.  This  necessitates  my  joining 
the  forces  up  the  river  instead  of  meeting  you  to-day,  as  I  had 
contemplated.  I  have  directed  General  Nelson  to  move  to  the 
river  with  his  division.  He  can  march  to  opposite  Pittsburg. 

He  hobbled  painfully  to  the  boat,  and  started  up  the 
river,  accompanied  by  his  staff. 

He  betrayed  little  excitement,  though  the  deepening 


roar  of  the  cannon  seemed  to  portend  the  downfall  of  the 
republic ;  but  on  his  face  settled  that  strange  look  which 
he  had  worn  at  Donelson — a  relentless  sternness  which 
was  resolution,  not  savagery.  He  held  his  cigar  in  his 
hand,  and  occasionally  put  it  ,between  his  teeth,  but  it 
remained  unlighted.  His  calmness  was  not  inertness;  it 
was  the  immobility  of  perfect  self-control.  His  staff  had 
come  to  know  these  moods  and  to  respect  his  silence. 

At  Crump's  Landing,  about  half-way  up  the  river  to 
Pittsburg  Landing,  General  Lew  Wallace  was  stationed. 
To  him  Grant  said:  "General,  have  your  men  ready  to 
march  at  a  moment's  notice." 

"  They  are  all  under  arms,"  replied  Wallace. 

The  roar  and  jar  and  tumult  thickened,  but  the  general 
gave  no  further  sign  of  excitement  till  the  boat  neared 
the  landing;  then,  leaning  on  his  chief  of  staff,  he  hobbled 
to  the  side  of  his  horse.  As  he  swung  into  the  saddle 
he  seemed  to  forget  his  pain.  The  moment  the  gang 
plank  fell  he  was  ashore.  Spurring  his  horse  till  he  leaped 
like  a  hound,  he  dashed  away.  His  eagerness  had  found 
expression.  He  led  his  staff  at  reckless  speed  straight 
toward  the  heaviest  firing.  It  was  about  nine  o'clock  in 
the  morning  when  he  "  came  sailing  in  on  his  old  clay- 
bank."  The  debarkation  of  the  army  had  not  been  his; 
the  delay  had  not  been  his :  but  now  that  the  battle  was 
on,  he  accepted  the  issue,  and  he  was  the  commander; 
there  was  no  question  of  that  in  the  mind  of  any  com 
petent  observer  that  terrible  day.  The  enemy  had  fallen 
upon  Sherman's  advance-line,  and  had  driven  him  back 
toward  the  river;  the  defensive  line  still  remained,  but 
was  very  much  shortened. 

He  rode  at  once  to  Sherman's  lines.  He  found  Sherman 
wounded,  but  calm  and  alert. 

"  How  is  it  with  you  ?  "  asked  Grant. 

"  We  've  about  held  our  own,"  replied  Sherman,  "  but 
it  has  been  a  heavy  attack." 

"  Things  don't  look  so  well  on  our  left.  I  have  left 
orders  at  Crump's  Landing  for  Wallace's  division  to  come 
up  on  your  right.  Look  out  for  him." 

All  day  he  rode  the  lines,  exposing  himself  with  crimi- 

204  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

nal  recklessness  to  the  fire,  encouraging  his  subordinates 
by  promise  of  reinforcements,  reforming  stragglers,  for 
warding  ammunition,  giving  helpful  advice  and  definite 
orders.  Something  great  and  admirable  came  out  in  his 
character.  His  coolness,  his  alertness,  his  perfect  clarity 
of  vision  under  the  appalling  strain  of  anxiety,  evidenced 
the  great  commander  of  men.  Had  he  been  a  lesser  man, 
or  a  man  of  nervous  organization,  he  would  have  broken 
down  under  the  responsibility. 

The  battle  was  horrifying.  Charge  after  charge  was 
made  and  repulsed.  Some  of  the  ground  was  taken  and 
retaken  several  times.  The  army  was  new  and  untried, 
and  its  commanders  were  scarcely  less  inexperienced. 
Lines  were  broken  up ;  organization  in  the  newer  regi 
ments  disappeared ;  but  they  fought  on  without  barri 
cades,  men  and  officers  alike  performing  desperate  deeds 
of  valor. 

At  two  o'clock  Grant's  face  showed  anxiety  for  the  first 
time.  The  army  was  almost  a  confusion  of  brave  mobs, 
difficult  to  command.  Buell  had  not  arrived;  Wallace 
was  wandering  about  on  the  road  somewhere ;  and  many 
of  the  raw  troops  of  Sherman's  advance-guard,  having 
fled  back  to  the  river,  cowered  under  the  bank  like  fright 
ened  rabbits.  The  unutterable  fury  of  the  conflict  had 
made  of  them,  not  cowards,  but  awed  and  helpless 
animals.  They  had  gone  beyond  command.  The  gray- 
coated  men  came  in  impulses,  as  though  driven  by  some 
incomprehensible  enginery  of  hate.  They  were  confident 
of  victory,  and  really  outnumbered  the  Union  troops. 
But  they  could  not  advance.  They  were  checked,  and 
slowly  fell  back. 

At  last  Wallace  arrived,  but  too  late  in  the  day  to  take 
any  part  in  the  battle.  Buell's  men  did  not  reach  the 
field  until  the  end  of  the  first  day's  terrible  fighting. 

Buell  himself  landed  in  advance  of  his  men,  and  seeing 
the  great  body  of  discouraged  stragglers  by  the  river, 
asked  Grant  what  preparations  he  had  made  for  defeat. 
Grant  simply  said :  "  I  have  n't  despaired  of  whipping 
them  yet." 

As  night  came  on,  the  Union  line,  crushed  back  close 


to  the  river,  lay  down  in  the  rain  and  waited  for  the 
dawn.  Grant,  though  suffering  great  pain  from  his  swollen 
ankle,  and  worn  with  his  day's  activity,  set  himself  to  the 
problem  of  capturing  the  army  which  he  already  con 
sidered  whipped.  This  wonderful  characteristic  came  out 
in  him :  he  seemed  just  beginning  to  fight.  The  troops 
slept  on  their  arms  beneath  the  tempest,  but  the  labor  of 
reforming  the  commands  and  posting  the  newly  arrived 
forces  of  Wallace  and  Buell  continued  all  night.  "  Grant 
visited  each  division  commander,  including  Nelson,  after 
dark,  directing  the  new  position  of  each,  and  repeating 
in  person  the  orders  for  an  advance  at  early  dawn.  '  At 
tack  with  a  heavy  skirmish-line  as  soon  as  it  's  light 
enough  to  see  ;  then  follow  up  with  your  entire  command, 
leaving  no  reserves.' ' 

About  midnight  he  returned  to  the  landing,  and  lay 
down  on  the  ground  with  his  head  against  a  tree;  and 
though  drenched  by  the  storm  and  suffering  great  physical 
pain,  he  did  not  lose  heart;  he  confidently  looked  for 
victory  in  the  morning.  Toward  dawn,  becoming  chilled, 
he  moved  to  the  porch  of  one  of  the  log  huts,  and  tried 
to  rest  there ;  but  the  house  was  filled  with  wounded  men, 
and  their  moans  and  cries  of  anguish,  more  unendurable 
than  the  storm,  drove  him  back  to  the  shelter  of  his  tree. 

It  was  a  long,  long  night;  but  daylight  came  at  last. 
He  was  again  lifted  into  his  saddle,  and  though  lame, 
worn,  covered  with  mud,  and  burdened  with  the  mightiest 
responsibilities,  his  voice  was  calm,  clear,  and  decisive. 

Riding  along  the  line,  he  said  to  his  aide :  "  See  that 
every  division  moves  up  to  the  attack ;  press  the  enemy 
hard  the  minute  it  is  light  enough  to  see."  Conditions 
had  changed  ;  he  was  now  the  aggressor.  Buell  and  Wal 
lace  had  given  the  Union  forces  preponderance;  the 
stragglers  reformed,  and  all  moved  with  the  confidence 
which  reinforcements  gave.  They  were  anxious  to  redeem 
themselves.  The  Confederates  withstood  the  attack  with 
marvelous  skill  and  bravery ;  though  now  outnumbered 
and  fighting  a  losing  battle,  they  withdrew  in  good  order; 
nothing  could  stampede  them. 

At  last,  late  in  the  afternoon  on  Monday,  the  enemy's 

206  LIFE   OF    GRANT 

guns  on  the  left  became  silent,  but  on  the  right  the  battle 
still  continued  in  intermittent  ferocity.  Moments  of  com 
parative  silence  began  to  intervene  like  lulls  in  a  gale, 
followed  by  volley  after  volley  of  musketry,  rapid  as  the 
roll  of  a  drum,  till  the  guns  grew  hot  and  the  gunners 
weary.  Each  returning  wave  of  sullen  savagery  seemed 
weaker,  and  the  firing  became  fainter  and  fainter  and  then 
almost  died  away. 

The  commander  sat  on  his  clay-colored  war-horse, 
surrounded  by  his  staff,  looking  intently  in  the  direction 
of  the  firing.  As  the  musketry  began  this  intermittent 
action  his  face  lighted  up.  The  enemy  was  preparing  to 
retreat!  This  was  the  moment  for  a  final  charge.  He 
looked  about  him  for  a  weapon  to  hurl  into  the  retreating 
ranks  of  the  enemy.  Gathering  up  two  or  three  fragments 
of  regiments,  he  led  them  against  the  enemy's  last  stand. 
The  line  broke ;  the  gray-coated  men  fled.  Shrill  cheers 
arose.  The  battle  was  ended.  The  field  of  Shiloh  had 
taken  its  place  in  history  as  one  of  the  great  battle-fields 
of  the  human  race. 

The  battle  of  Shiloh  showed  Ulysses  Grant  to  be  a 
commander  of  a  new  type.  His  personal  habits  in  conflict 
were  now  apparent  to  all  his  staff.  He  did  not  shout, 
vituperate,  or  rush  aimlessly  to  and  fro.  He  had  no  vin- 
dictiveness.  While  other  officers  in  the  heat  of  battle 
swore  and  uttered  ferocious  cries,  Grant  voiced  all  his 
commands  in  plain  Anglo-Saxon  speech,  without  oaths 
or  abridgment.  His  anxiety  and  intensity  of  mental  action 
never  passed  beyond  his  perfect  control.  He  fought  best 
and  thought  best  when  pushed  hard. 

He  went  into  the  battle  of  Shiloh  under  the  most 
annoying,  uncertain,  and  depressing  circumstances  without 
losing  his  temper  and  without  once  becoming  confused  or 
vindictive.  His  endurance  was  marvelous.  Neither  noise 
nor  confusion  of  line,  neither  rush  of  stampeding  troops, 
nor  feebleness  of  dilatory  commanders,  nor  physical  pain, 
could  weaken  or  affright  him.  He  displayed  the  high 
courage  which  assumes  responsibility,  and  the  mind  which 
executes  plans  in  the  face  of  apparent  defeat. 


A  man  of  singular  gentleness,  he  had  displayed  the 
faculty  which  enables  a  man  to  consider  soldiers  en  masse, 
to  look  over  and  beyond  the  destruction  of  human  life  in 
battle  to  the  end  for  which  the  battle  is  fought.  Unwill 
ing  to  harm  any  living  thing  himself,  he  had  the  resolution 
to  send  columns  of  men  into  battle  calmly  and  without 
hesitation.  Without  this  constitution  of  mind  no  great 
commander  can  succeed. 



THE  battle  of  Shiloh  was  a  great  victory,  but  it  did 
not  ring  over  the  North  with  the  same  joyous  clamor 
which  followed  upon  Donelson.  The  holiday  element  had 
passed  out  of  the  war.  Optimists  had  said,  "  Donelson 
ends  it  in  the  West  "  ;  and  yet  another  battle  had  followed, 
so  much  greater,  so  much  more  horrible  in  the  destruction 
of  human  life,  that  Donelson,  in  its  turn,  became  a  small 
affair,  and  even  the  most  hopeful  saw  other  carnage  in 

There  was  an  end  of  talk  about  the  "  boastful  Southron." 
It  was  apparent  that  he  could  fight  under  leadership  such 
as  he  had  in  Albert  Sidney  Johnston.  The  two  sections 
had  met  in  forces  beyond  anything  ever  seen  in  the 
Revolutionary  War,  or  in  the  wars  of  1812  and  with 
Mexico.  The  desolation  of  homes  was  terrible.  Long 
columns  of  the  dead  filled  the  newspapers,  and  long  trains 
wound  and  jolted  their  slow  way  to  the  North  and  to  the 
South,  carrying  the  wounded  to  their  homes. 

The  nation  was  appalled,  and  naturally  a  large  part  of 
the  bitterness  and  hate  of  war  fell  upon  Grant.  He  had 
risen  so  suddenly  to  national  fame  that  his  private  life  and 
character  were  dark  with  mystery.  Few  knew  how  kind 
and  gentle  he  really  was,  and  a  tumult  of  abuse  arose. 
He  was  execrated  as  a  man  careless  of  human  lives.  He 
was  accused  of  negligence  and  drunkenness,  and  of  being 
unjustifiably  off  the  field  of  battle.  McClernand  wrote 
to  the  President,  claiming  the  honors,  and  reflecting  on 



other  commanders;  General  Buell,  stung  by  charges  of 
being  "  designedly  slow,"  retorted  with  insinuations  of 
Grant's  inefficiency,  and  drew  dolorous  pictures  of  the 
Union  army,  which  he  had  saved  from  flight ;  and  finally 
Halleck,  taking  from  a  telegram  Grant's  warm  and  gener 
ous  praise  of  Sherman,  embodied  it  in  a  message  to  Secre 
tary  of  War  Stanton  (not  mentioning  Grant's  name),  asking 
for  Sherman's  promotion,  which  had  the  effect  of  hinting 
at  Grant's  demoralization  and  failure. 
To  this  Stanton  replied : 

The  President  desires  to  know  why  you  have  made  no  official 
report,  and  whether  any  neglect  or  misconduct  of  General  Grant 
or  any  other  officer  contributed  to  the  sad  casualties  that  befell 
our  forces  on  Sunday. 

Again  Halleck  evaded  the  issue  by  not  mentioning 
Grant,  though  the  question  called  for  it,  saying: 

The  casualties  were  due  in  part  to  the  bad  conduct  of  officers 
utterly  unfit  for  their  places,  and  in  part  to  the  numbers  and 
bravery  of  the  enemy.  I  prefer  to  express  no  opinion  in  regard 
to  the  misconduct  of  individuals  till  I  receive  reports  of  com 
manders  of  divisions. 

Great  pressure  was  at  once  brought  to  bear  on  the 
President  to  have  Grant  relieved  from  duty.  Lincoln 
listened  patiently  to  all  that  men  had  to  say,  pro  and  con ; 
then,  with  a  long  sigh,  he  said :  "  I  can't  spare  Grant ;  he 
fights!  " 

To  Colonel  J.  S.  Stewart  Colonel  S.  D.  Webster  of 
Grant's  staff  wrote,  September  4,  1872,  to  deny  a  slander: 

I  breakfasted  with  General  Grant.  I  went  on  board  the  boat, 
and  rode  with  him  to  the  field  about  half -past  eight  in  the  morn 
ing.  I  was  with  him  all  day.  1  lay  down  with  him  on  a  small 
parcel  of  hay  which  the  quartermaster  put  down  to  keep  us  out 
of  the  mud,  in  the  rear  of  the  artillery-line  to  the  left.  He  was 
perfectly  sober  and  self-possessed  during  the  day  and  the  entire 
battle.  No  one  claimed  that  he  was  drunk. 


210  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

The  battle  of  Shiloh  may  be  said,  therefore,  to  have 
divided  the  country  into  two  distinct  camps — those  who 
considered  General  Grant  no  soldier,  and  those  who  con 
sidered  him  the  great  warrior  of  the  West.  The  poor 
farmer  of  the  Gravois  had  become  an  issue.  Stocks  in 
London  rose  and  cotton  went  down  with  his  day's  doings; 
and  this  immense  achievement  was  the  result  of  nine 
months'  service  in  the  field. 

But  Halleck,  "  cautiously  energetic  one,"  determined 
to  take  the  field  in  person.  One  week  after  the  battle  he 
arrived,  holding  carte  blanche  from  the  Secretary  of  War. 
He  congratulated  Generals  Grant  and  Buell,  and  their 
armies,  and  left  them  in  their  respective  commands,  and 
called  for  reinforcements.  They  came, — the  North  was  just 
beginning  to  understand  the  necessities  of  the  case, — 
and  on  the  22d  Commander  Halleck  unrolled  his  great 
army.  It  was  a  mighty  host,  and  the  whole  nation  waited 
to  see  what  would  happen.  Never  had  an  American 
soldier  such  a  chance.  Mightiest  results  were  looked  for. 

Nothing  happened!  He  lay  there  with  his  splendid 
army,  fearing  attack.  There  was  not  a  formidably  forti 
fied  city  in  the  whole  West,  and  all  the  forces  opposed 
could  not  have  exceeded  sixty  thousand  bayonets,  while 
Halleck  was  master  of  nearly  one  hundred  and  twenty 
thousand  resolute  Western  soldiers,  men  enough  to  march 
to  the  Gulf,  taking  all  before  them.  The  Confederates 
looked  on  in  wonder  at  this  superb  army  inching  along 
behind  breastworks.  Halleck's  orders  to  his  subordinates 
were  to  "avoid  any  general  engagement"  until  reinforce 
ments  should  arrive,  though  his  advance  column  was 
finding  but  feeble  resistance,  and  reported  several  times 
the  belief  that  the  enemy  was  evacuating  Corinth.  "  The 
movement  was  a  siege  from  start  to  close." 

Meanwhile  General  Grant  was  little  more  than  a  spectator. 
Though  nominally  second  in  command,  he  had  in  reality 
almost  no  command  at  all.  He  was  forced  to  trail  after 
Halleck  in  the  most  humiliating  of  positions.  Every 
suggestion  he  made  to  his  chief  was  treated  with  con 
tempt.  The  staff- officers,  taking  their  cue  from  Halleck, 
turned  their  backs  when  Grant  came  near,  Orders  to  his 


troops  were  sent  over  his  head,  and  movements  were 
ordered  in  his  department  without  consulting  him  or  even 
notifying  him.  These  things  became  unendurable  at  last, 
and  in  a  letter  stating  his  position  he  asked  to  be  relieved 
from  duty  altogether,  or  to  have  his  command  defined. 

To  this  Halleck  replied  in  diplomatic  and  soothing 
words,  saying: 

You  have  precisely  the  position  to  which  your  rank  entitles 
you.  You  certainly  will  not  suspect  me  of  any  intention  to  injure 
your  feelings  or  do  you  any  injustice ;  if  so,  you  will  eventually 
change  your  mind  on  the  subject.  For  the  last  three  months  I 
have  done  everything  in  my  power  to  ward  off  the  attacks  which 
were  made  upon  you.  If  you  believe  me  your  friend,  you  will 
not  require  explanations ;  if  not,  explanations  on  my  part  would 
be  of  little  avail. 

On  its  face  this  letter  seems  fair,  and  yet  under  its 
smooth  phrases  lies  the  fact  that  Grant  was  subjected  to 
daily  humiliations.  The  victor  of  Donelson  and  Shiloh  was 
second  in  command  to  a  chief  who  contemptuously  cut 
short  all  his  suggestions,  who  ordered  his  troops  from  his 
corps  without  notifying  him,  and  this  not  in  an  emergency, 
but  contemptuously,  as  in  the  case  of  detaching  General 
Lew  Wallace  for  movement  toward  Bolivar. 

At  about  this  time  Sherman,  who  deeply  sympathized 
with  Grant,  was  told  casually  by  Halleck  that  Grant 
was  going  away.  He  immediately  ordered  a  horse  and 
rode  over  to  Grant's  headquarters. 

As  he  came  near  he  was  amazed  to  see  the  tents  struck, 
and  men  at  work  packing  up.  Grant  was  sitting  on  a  log 
near  by,  smoking,  as  usual. 

"What  the  devil  's  the  meaning  of  all  this?"  asked 
Sherman,  in  his  abrupt  way. 

Grant  smiled  joyously.      "  I  'm  going  to  leave." 

"What!  "  Sherman  fairly  shouted. 

"  Yes ;  I  have  leave  to  go  to  Washington,  and  I  'm 

"  Good  God  Almighty !  Grant,  are  you  crazy  ?  You 
can't  leave  this  Western  army ;  it  's  yours.  You  know 
the  men,  and  the  men  know  you.  D it,  man,"  cried 

212  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

the  rough  old  fellow,  lifting  his  fist,  "don't  you  know 
when  you  are  well  off?" 

Grant  was  deeply  impressed  with  Sherman's  earnest 
ness,  but  significantly  replied : 

"You  know  my  position  here  under  Halleck?" 

"  I  know  all  about  that.  But  you  stay  right  here.  Hal 
leck  is  going  East  pretty  soon,  and  then  things  will 
straighten  out  here." 

Grant  mused  a  moment,  and  then  ordered  :  "  Put  up  the 
tents  again ;  I  '11  stay." 

It  is  hardly  more  than  twenty  miles  from  Pittsburg 
Landing  to  Corinth.  It  took  Halleck  six  weeks  to  come 
within  striking  distance  of  the  enemy's  outworks.  Grant 
was  driven  nearly  to  desperation  by  the  snail's  pace  of  the 
splendid  army  which  should  have  been  his,  and  which  he 
felt  able  to  lead. 

"  I  may  be  wrong,"  he  said  to  his  staff,  "  but  I  believe 
in  an  aggressive  campaign.  If  I  were  in  command  I 
would  push  on  and  win." 

For  six  weeks,  in  hesitating  timidity,  General  Halleck 
held  his  immense  host  in  check  before  a  retreating  foe. 
When  the  truth  could  be  no  longer  concealed,  he  ordered 
an  advance  on  Corinth,  and  found  an  empty  city!  The 
whole  army  smiled.  "  Old  Brains "  had  been  outfaced 
by  wooden  guns.  Halleck  concealed  his  stupefaction  and 
chagrin  by  a  brave  show  of  orders  and  telegrams,  but  the 
truth  could  not  be  suppressed.  The  soldiers  knew  he  had 
been  fooled,  and  they  did  not  hesitate  to  put  their  opinions 
in  their  home  letters. 

On  the  loth  of  June  he  restored  Grant,  Buell,  and  Pope 
to  their  separate  commands.  Grant,  seizing  the  oppor 
tunity  to  e-cape  from  his  irksome  position,  asked  to  be 
allowed  to  make  his  headquarters  in  Memphis,  which  had 
fallen  into  Union  hands  upon  the  evacuation  of  Corinth. 
Halleck  consented,  and  in  such  wise  Grant  "  went  into 
honorable  retirement."  He  still  continued  to  play  second 
fiddle  to  Halleck,  but  was  free  from  daily  humiliation  at 
the  hands  of  headquarters  supernumeraries.  The  people 
of  Memphis  recall  his  stay  there  with  expressions  of  good 


will.  He  ruled  wisely  and  well,  and  in  the  midst  of 
cotton  speculators  and  measureless  corruption  he  re 
mained  poor. 

The  shift  which  Sherman  predicted  took  place.  Lin 
coln,  sorely  disappointed  with  operations  in  the  East, 
looked  toward  Halleck.  Lee  had  forced  McClellan  back 
to  the  James  River.  There  was  a  feeling  of  great  inse 
curity  at  Washington,  and  on  the  loth  of  July  Halleck 
received  an  order  to  proceed  to  the  capital.  Thereupon 
he  telegraphed  Grant  at  Memphis :  "  You  will  immedi 
ately  repair  to  this  place  and  report  to  these  head 

Grant  asked  if  he  should  bring  his  staff. 

Halleck  curtly  replied,  "  You  can  do  as  you  please,  but 
Corinth  will  be  your  headquarters,"  and  made  no  other 

On  the  1 2th  he  wired  Stanton:  "In  leaving  this  de 
partment,  shall  I  relinquish  the  command  to  next  in 
rank,  or  will  the  President  designate  who  is  to  be  the 

All  this  was  quite  open  and  candid,  but  he  secretly 
offered  the  command  of  the  department  to  Colonel  Robert 
Allen,  his  quartermaster. 

Colonel  Allen  was  properly  astonished,  and  declined, 
saying,  "  I  have  not  rank." 

Halleck  replied:  "That  can  easily  be  obtained." 

Colonel  Allen,  with  fine  common  sense,  again  declined 
to  consider  the  matter,  saying  he  doubted  the  expediency 
of  such  a  step.  "  Identified  as  I  am  with  enormous 
expenditures  of  my  department,  it  is  impracticable  to 
relieve  me  at  this  time." 

No  doubt  Grant  would  have  served  willingly  under 
Allen,  for  he  held  him  in  high  regard,  and  kept  in  memory 
his  kindness  to  him  when  he  was  in  want  in  San  Francisco 
in  1854;  but  the  Secretary  of  War  ordered  Halleck  to 
turn  the  command  over  to  the  next  in  rank,  and  that 
ended  the  matter  so  far  as  Halleck  was  concerned. 

Grant  was  once  more  in  command  of  his  department, 
but  under  discouraging  conditions.  Buell's  army  had 

214  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

returned  to  Kentucky,  and  his  own  forces  were  heavily 
depleted.  His  name  was  no  longer  in  men's  mouths. 
All  eyes  were  turned  upon  Buell's  army,  and  upon  Hal- 
leek  and  the  Army  of  the  Potomac.  Grant  was  simply 
another  general  who  had  gone  up  like  a  rocket  and  had 
fallen  a  charred  stick.  He  might  be  a  useful  man ;  he 
might  do  garrison  duty ;  but  he  was  no  longer  the  man 
expected,  the  great  commander.  During  July  and  August 
he  could  do  nothing  more  than  guard  his  lines.  He  held 
his  command  but  insecurely,  and  felt  that  he  might  be 
removed  at  any  moment.  He  was  ordered  to  be  in  readi 
ness  to  reinforce  Buell,  and  had  no  freedom  of  action, 
though  exposed  at  any  time  to  an  attack  on  his  weakened 

This  was  a  gloomy  and  anxious  time,  and  the  general's 
old  habit  threatened  to  seize  upon  him  again.  His  ner 
vous  organization  was  such  that  inactivity  and  depression 
of  spirits  weakened  him  to  the  power  of  alcoholic  stimu 
lants.  But  his  loyal  wife  came  down  and  helped  him  bear 
his  disappointment.  Through  weeks  of  weary  waiting  he 
endured  in  silence,  watching  Generals  Price  and  Van  Dorn, 
knowing  well  he  had  but  inadequate  movable  force  to  send 
against  an  enemy.  But  when  the  enemy  attacked  in 
September,  he  fought  skilfully,  and  won  the  battle  of  luka. 
A  little  later,  seeing  the  Union  army  weakened  still  further 
by  the  transfer  of  General  Thomas  to  Buell's  command, 
General  Van  Dorn  assaulted  Corinth.  Grant's  head 
quarters  were  at  Jackson,  Tennessee,  at  this  time,  but  he 
directed  the  battle,  which  was  a  marked  and  decisive 
defeat  of  the  Confederates. 

Again,  at  the  first  opportunity,  he  had  cheered  the 
nation  with  victories.  Patriots  began  to  recall  that  Grant 
was  the  victor  of  Donelson  and  Shiloh. 

The  Mississippi  campaign  began  once  more  to  seem 
important,  and  Halleck  formally  assigned  to  Grant  the 
command  of  the  department  which  he  had  been  holding 
thus  far  by  sufferance.  Encouraged  by  this,  Grant  sug 
gested  a  forward  movement.  With  Sherman  command 
ing  his  right  wing,  C.  S.  Hamilton  (an  old  classmate)  his 
center,  and  young  James  B.  McPherson  his  left,  he  began 


to  push  down  the  Mississippi  Central  Railway  upon 
Oxford  and  Grenada,  with  design  to  meet  and  destroy 
the  rebel  army  before  it  could  retire  into  Vicksburg. 

He  was  encouraged,  but  by  no  means  at  ease.  In  a 
letter  to  his  sister,  written  early  in  December  from  Oxford, 
he  said : 

I  have  a  big  army  in  front  of  me  [General  Pemberton  was  in 
command],  as  well  as  bad  roads.  I  shall  probably  give  a  good 
account  of  myself,  notwithstanding  all  obstacles.  My  plans  are 
all  complete  for  weeks  to  come,  and  I  hope  to  have  them  all 
work  out  just  as  planned.  For  a  conscientious  person,  and  I 
profess  to  be  one,  this  is  a  most  slavish  life.  I  am  envied  by 
ambitious  persons;  but  I,  in  turn,  envy  the  person  who  can 
transact  hh  daily  business  and  retire  to  a  quiet  home  without 
the  feeling  of  responsibility  for  the  morrow.  Taking  my  whole 
department,  there  are  an  immense  number  of  lives  staked  upon 
my  judgment  and  acts.  I  am  extended  now  like  a  peninsula  into 
an  enemy's  country,  with  a  large  army  depending  for  their  daily 
bread  upon  keeping  open  a  line  of  railroad  running  190  miles 
through  an  enemy's  country -,  or,  at  least,  through  a  territory  occu 
pied  by  a  people  terribly  embittered  and  hostile  to  us.  With 
all  this,  I  suffer  the  mortification  of  seeing  myself  attacked  right 
and  left  by  people  at  home  professing  patriotism  and  love  of 
country  who  never  heard  the  whistle  of  a  hostile  bullet.  I  pity 
them  and  the  nation  dependent  on  such  for  its  existence.  I  am 
thankful,  however,  that,  though  such  people  make  a  great  noise, 
the  masses  are  not  like  them. 

Among  many  other  causes  of  worriment,  he  had  General 
McClernand,  who  reappeared  on  the  horizon  at  this  time. 
He  had  secured  a  leave  of  absence,  and  had  visited  Presi 
dent  Lincoln,  appealing  for  permission  to  organize  an 
independent  command  to  proceed  upon  Vicksburg  by 
way  of  the  river.  He  had  been  restive  under  Grant's 
command  from  the  beginning,  and  considered  himself  the 
man  best  entitled  to  command  the  Army  of  the  Missis 
sippi.  He  had  ignored  General  Grant  in  every  possible 
way,  making  reports  to  the  War  Department  and  to 
Lincoln.  After  the  battle  of  Shiloh  he  began  to  plan 
for  a  special  command.  Through  his  influence  with  Lin- 

216  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

coin,  he  had  finally  obtained  a  very  curious  "  confidential  " 
order,  which  read  thus : 


October  21,  1862. 

Ordered  that  Major-General  McClernand  be,  and  he  is, 
directed  to  proceed  to  the  States  of  Indiana,  Illinois,  and  Iowa, 
to  organize  the  troops  remaining  in  those  States,  and  to  be  raised 
by  voluntary  or  by  draft,  and  forward  them  with  all  despatch  to 
Memphis  or  Cairo  or  such  other  points  as  may  hereafter  be 
designated  by  the  general-in-chief,  to  the  end  that,  when  a 
sufficient  force  not  required  by  the  operations  of  General  Grant's 
command  shall  be  raised,  an  expedition  may  be  organized,  under 
General  McClernand's  command,  against  Vicksburg,  and  to 
clear  the  Mississippi  River  and  open  navigation  to  New  Orleans. 
The  forces  so  organized  will  remain  subject  to  the  designation 
of  the  general-in-chief,  and  be  employed  according  to  such 
exigencies  as  the  service,  in  his  judgment,  may  require. 

Secretary  of  War. 

With  this  order  (which  he  could  not  have  closely  read) 
McClernand  went  forth  in  exultation  to  raise  an  army  for 
himself.  As  he  understood  it,  this  gave  him  a  position 
equal,  if  not  superior,  to  Grant,  and  he  saw  Napoleonic 
glory  awaiting  his  destruction  of  Vicksburg.  He  was  a 
splendid  recruiting  officer;  that  should  be  cheerfully  ad 
mitted.  He  was  in  his  element  when  making  patriotic 
appeals  for  volunteers,  and,  to  his  high  honor  be  it  said, 
he  raised  an  army  of  forty  thousand  men  in  an  incredibly 
short  time,  and  by  the  1st  of  December  was  prepared  to 
follow  them  and  move  upon  Vicksburg. 

Grant  distrusted  McClernand,  and  probably  disliked 
him,  though  he  had  never  given  the  other  any  per 
sonal  cause  of  offense.  Hearing  of  McClernand's  pro 
jected  movement  (through  a  letter  from  Admiral  Porter), 
Grant  set  out  for  Cairo  to  see  Porter.  He  arrived  just  as 
the  admiral  was  about  to  join  in  a  banquet  on  the  quarter 
master's  boat.  No  one  recognized  the  general  at  first. 
He  was  dressed  in  citizen's  clothes,  and  was  travel-worn 
and  grim  of  face. 


He  was  hungry  and  tired,  but  refused  a  seat  at  the 
table.  He  called  Porter  aside,  and  asked  abruptly : 
"What  is  all  this  about  McClernand?" 

Porter  explained  that  he  had  seen  Lincoln  in  Washing 
ton,  and  that  Lincoln  had  said  to  him :  "  I  have  a  greater 
general  now  than  either  Grant  or  Sherman.  I  have  com 
missioned  McClernand  to  raise  an  army  and  capture  Vicks- 
burg  by  way  of  the  Mississippi." 

Grant  listened  in  perfect  silence  till  he  had  the  whole 
story ;  then  he  asked  with  imperative  suddenness :  "  When 
can  you  move,  and  what  force  have  you  ?  " 

The  admiral  named  the  strength  of  his  flotilla,  and  said : 
"  I  can  move  to-morrow." 

"  Very  well,"  said  the  general;  "  I  will  leave  you  now, 
and  write  at  once  to  Sherman  to  have  thirty  thousand 
infantry  and  artillery  embarked  in  transports,  ready  to 
start  for  Vicksburg  the  moment  you  get  to  Memphis.  I 
will  return  to  Holly  Springs  to-night,  and  will  start  with 
a  large  force  for  Grenada  as  soon  as  I  can  get  off.  General 
Joe  Johnston  is  near  Vicksburg  with  forty  thousand  men, 
besides  the  garrison  of  the  place  under  General  Pember- 
ton.  When  Johnston  hears  I  am  marching  on  Grenada, 
he  will  come  from  Vicksburg  to  meet  me  and  check  my 
advance.  I  will  hold  him  at  Grenada  while  you  and 
Sherman  push  down  the  Mississippi  and  make  a  landing 
somewhere  near  the  Yazoo.  The  garrison  at  Vicksburg 
will  be  small,  and  Sherman  will  have  no  difficulty  in  get 
ting  inside  the  works.  When  that  is  done,  I  will  force 
Johnston  out  of  Grenada,  and,  as  he  falls  back  from  Vicks 
burg,  will  follow  him  up  with  a  superior  force." 

Thus  in  less  than  half  an  hour  Grant  unfolded  his  plan 
of  campaign  involving  the  transportation  of  more  than  one 
hundred  thousand  men.  He  refused  to  eat  or  drink  or 
sleep,  but  started  immediately  upon  his  return. 

All  this  has  deep  significance.  Grant's  department  itt 
this  time  extended  only  to  the  eastern  bank  of  the  MissLi  • 
sippi  River.  He  had  no  command  in  Arkansas,  while 
Vicksburg,  the  objective  point,  was  in  his  department.  In 
his  mind,  McClernand  was  not  the  proper  man  to  lead  an 
independent  command  in  his  department.  It  was  neces- 

2l8  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

sary,  also,  to  save  Sherman  from  subordination  to  a  polit 
ical  general,  and  it  was  Grant's  intention  to  move  on 
Vicksburg  in  such  wise  that  Sherman  should  have  the 
honor  of  its  capture  before  McClernand  arrived. 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  "  confidential  order  "  did  not 
give  an  independent  command.  Its  phrases  were  adroit. 
As  the  troops  began  to  assemble  at  Memphis  they  were 
sent  to  Grant  and  to  Sherman,  without  regard  to  orders 
from  McClernand ;  and  when  he  complained  of  this,  Stan- 
ton  informed  him  that  the  operations  of  his  forces,  being 
in  General  Grant's  department,  were  under  the  general 
direction  of  that  officer. 

Grant  returned  at  once  to  headquarters,  and  made  prep 
arations  to  carry  out  his  part  of  the  plan  of  an  assault  on 
Vicksburg.  On  the  i8th  of  December  he  received  impor 
tant  orders  from  Washington,  and  was  ready  to  move. 
He  was  seated  at  headquarters,  next  day,  when  Colonel 
Dickey,  an  officer  of  the  cavalry,  rode  up  and  reported. 
He  had  been  sent  out  with  express  orders  to  watch  a 
threatening  force  under  command  of  General  Van  Dorn, 
and  to  never  leave  the  Confederate  flank  for  a  single  hour. 
He  arrived  covered  with  mud,  and  as  soon  as  the  general 
set  eyes  on  him  he  knew  something  was  wrong. 

He  rose  abruptly,  and  without  a  word  of  greeting 
brusquely  asked:  "Where  is  Van  Dorn?" 

Dickey  replied :  "  I  left  him  at  Pontotoc.  He  was 
moving  northward  with  a  strong  force.  The  negroes 

Grant  wheeled  on  his  heel,  sat  down  at  his  desk,  and 
began  writing  orders  with  great  swiftness,  addressed  to 
all  his  post  commanders,  bidding  them  be  in  readiness 
for  attack,  to  call  in  all  troops,  and  to  make  every  effort  to 
strengthen  their  posts.  He  was  profoundly  alarmed.  He 
knew  Van  Dorn  meant  to  strike  some  of  his  garrisons, 
and  was  especially  uneasy  about  Holly  Springs,  which 
was  his  secondary  base  of  supplies.  Colonel  Murphy 
was  in  command  at  Holly  Springs,  and  the  general  dis 
trusted  him. 

Colonel  Murphy  received  the  general's  orders,  but  de 
layed  putting  them  into  effect  that  afternoon ;  and  that 


night  the  garrison  at  Holly  Springs  was  captured  and  a 
million  dollars'  worth  of  stores  destroyed.  All  commu 
nications  were  cut,  and  Grant's  army  was  for  several 
days  isolated  in  the  enemy's  country,  and  was  forced  to 
live  off  of  the  products  of  the  land.  For  all  these  con 
siderations  Grant  was  forced  to  fall  back  to  Holly  Springs 
without  being  able  to  carry  out  his  plan  of  cooperation 
with  Sherman. 

This  was  his  first  retreat,  and  he  felt  deeply  grieved  and 
humiliated  thereat  He  had  a  peculiar  superstition  about 
retracing  his  steps,  and  to  be  forced  out  of  position  by  a 
smaller  force  was  a  peculiar  mortification.  At  that  time 
he  had  no  realization  of  the  ease  with  which  an  army  of 
thirty  thousand  men  could  subsist  in  an  enemy's  country, 
and  it  seemed  impossible  for  him  to  follow  out  his  original 
plan.  These  two  weeks  of  foraging  taught  him  a  needed 
lesson.  He  was  astonished  at  the  ease  with  which  the 
army  fed  itself. 

Meanwhile  Sherman,  not  knowing  what  had  happened 
to  his  chief,  had  debarked  at  Chickasaw  Bayou,  just  above 
Vicksburg,  according  to  plan.  After  listening  anxiously 
for  the  sound  of  Grant's  cannon  to  the  east,  he  determined 
to  assault ;  and  on  the  twenty-ninth  day  of  December  he 
made  a  desperate  attempt  to  carry  Chickasaw  Bluffs.  He 
failed,  for  the  reason  that  Grant's  retreat  had  enabled 
Pemberton  to  withdraw  his  forces  from  the  railway  and 
with  them  reinforce  the  troops  at  Chickasaw  Bluffs.  Sher 
man's  men  charged  again  and  again,  but  fell  back  at  last, 
with  great  loss  of  life. 

McClernand,  in  the  North,  hearing  of  Sherman's  expedi 
tion,  cried  out  in  hurried  telegrams  to  Lincoln,  saying,  "  I 
believe  I  am  being  superseded,"  and  pushed  rapidly  for 
the  front.  He  arrived  at  Sherman's  headquarters  the 
day  after  the  assault  on  Chickasaw  Bluffs,  and  at  once 
took  command,  thus  adding  to  Sherman's  chagrin  and 

At  about  this  time  General  McPherson  wrote  to  Grant, 
advising  him  to  take  command  of  the  river  expedition  in 
person.  "  It  is  the  great  feature  of  the  campaign,"  wrote 
the  loyal  young  officer,  "  and  its  execution  rightfully  be- 

220  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

longs  to  you."  And  Halleck,  seeing  that  it  was  a  matter 
of  choice  between  a  regular  and  a  "  mustang,"  set  General 
Grant  free  of  all  fear  of  McClernand's  interference  by  an 
order :  "  You  are  hereby  authorized  to  relieve  General 
McClernand  from  command  of  the  expedition  against 
Vicksburg,  giving  it  to  the  next  in  rank,  or  taking  it 

Grant,  distrusting  McClernand,  and  wishing  to  save 
Sherman  from  further  humiliation,  and  being  influenced 
also  by  the  letter  of  young  General  McPherson,  replied : 
"  I  will  take  command  in  person." 



BUT  all  these  discussions  and  harassments  had  wasted 
the  golden  moments.  From  Donelson  the  army 
should  have  marched  at  once  on  Corinth  and  on  down 
the  valley  upon  Vicksburg  before  it  could  be  reinforced 
or  fortified.  Halleck's  delay  before  Shiloh,  his  six  weeks' 
siege  of  the  flags  and  wooden  guns  of  Corinth,  his  long 
wait  after  its  capture,  the  dispersion  of  the  great  army, 
his  own  recall  to  Washington,  the  smallness  of  Grant's 
command,  the  controversy  with  McClernand — all  these 
things  had  held  affairs  in  check,  and  had  given  the  South 
ern  leaders  time  to  recover,  and  to  reinforce  and  fortify 
Vicksburg,  which  was  plainly  the  next  great  battle-point; 
and  now  a  winter  of  enormous  rains  was  upon  the  land, 
the  troops  were  mainly  raw  and  the  army  unorganized, 
and  it  was  late  in  January  before  Grant  was  able  to  put 
himself  personally  upon  the  spot  to  see  what  could  be 

With  his  arrival  began  one  of  the  most  extraordinary 
beleaguerments  in  the  history  of  warfare.  There  were 
two  roads  to  Vicksburg,  one  by  way  of  the  railway,  the 
other  by  way  of  the  river.  The  river  had  been  Grant's 
choice,  but  circumstances  had  forced  a  trial  of  the  inland 
route.  He  had  long  perceived,  as  every  thinking  soldier 
had,  that  Vicksburg  was  the  gate  which  shut  the  Missis 
sippi.  It  was  of  enormous  importance  to  the  Confederacy. 
After  Columbus  and  Memphis,  it  occupied  the  only 
point  of  high  land  close  to  the  river-bank  for  hundreds  of 
miles.  At  or  near  the  city  of  Vicksburg,  and  extending 


222  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

some  miles  to  the  south,  a  line  of  low  hills  of  glacial  drift 
jutted  upon  the  river,  making  the  site  a  natural  fortress. 
Upon  these  heights  heavy  batteries  were  planted. 

Another  element  of  great  strength  was  in  the  river,  which 
in  those  days  made  a  big  graceful  curve,  in  shape  like  an 
ox-bow,  so  that  to  run  the  batteries  the  Northern  gun 
boats  must  pass  twice  within  range,  once  on  the  outer 
curve,  and  again,  at  closer  gunshot,  on  the  inner  bow.  A 
third  and  final  and  more  formidable  condition  than  all 
aided  to  make  the  siege  of  the  city  hopeless.  There  was 
a  prodigious  freshet  upon  the  land,  and  all  the  low-lying 
country,  through  which  the  river  flows  (at  high  water)  as 
in  a  mighty  aqueduct  above  the  level  of  the  farms,  was 
flooded,  and  Grant's  soldiers  had  no  place  to  pitch  their 
tents,  save  upon  the  narrow  levees  along  the  river's  edge. 
No  greater  problem  of  warfare  ever  faced  an  American 

Grant  did  not  underestimate  its  difficulty.  There  were 
but  two  ways  to  attack — from  the  north,  with  the  Yazoo 
River  as  base  of  action,  or  to  get  below  the  city  and  attack 
from  the  south.  He  sent  an  expedition  at  once  to  explore 
a  passage  to  the  Yazoo  through  the  bayous  of  the  eastern 
bank,  and  set  himself  to  consider  the  problem  of  getting 
below  by  way  of  the  west. 

The  difficulties  in  way  of  this  plan  were  at  the  moment 
insurmountable.  He  could  neither  march  his  men  down 
the  western  bank  nor  go  in  boats.  If  he  should  find  pas 
sage  for  the  army,  and  should  reach  a  safe  point  below 
Vicksburg,  he  would  still  be  on  the  western  shore,  and 
without  means  to  ferry  his  troops,  and  without  supplies ; 
and  to  every  suggestion  about  running  the  batteries  with 
transports  arose  the  picture  of  those  miles  of  cannon  hurl 
ing  their  shells  upon  the  frail  woodwork  of  the  unprotected 

He  set  about  to  find  a  way  through  the  bayous  to  the 
west,  and  prodigious  things  were  done  in  the  way  of  cut 
ting  channels  through  the  swamps  and  widening  streams  for 
the  passage  of  gunboats.  While  this  was  going  on  he  gave 
attention  to  a  canal  which  he  had  found  partly  excavated 
upon  his  arrival.  It  had  been  planned  by  General  Thomas 


Williams,  in  the  summer  of  1862,  and  crossed  the  narrow 
neck  of  land  just  out  of  range  of  the  cannon.  It  was  ex 
pected  to  start  a  cut-off,  which  would  soon  deepen  natu 
rally  into  a  broad  stream  through  which  the  boats  might 
pass.  Grant,  in  a  letter  of  the  time,  said :  "  I  consider  it 
of  little  practical  use,  if  completed  " ;  but  he  allowed  the 
work  to  go  on,  thinking  it  better  for  the  soldiers  to  be 
occupied.  He  had  almost  as  little  faith  in  the  bayou  route 
to  the  west.  In  reality  he  had  settled  upon  the  plan  of 
inarching  his  men  overland  as  soon  as  the  water  subsided, 
and  afterward  to  run  the  batteries  with  gunboats  and 
transports.  These  weeks  of  waiting  tested  his  marvelous 
patience  sorely. 

He  was  on  trial  again.  The  North,  in  its  anxiety  and 
peril,  was  fickle.  As  the  weeks  went  by  it  began  again 
to  grumble,  and  finally  to  cry  out.  The  mutter  of  criti 
cism  swelled  to  a  roar  as  February  and  March  went  by. 
The  soldiers  were  said  to  be  dying  like  sheep  in  the 
trenches  or  useless  canals.  The  cost  of  keeping  such  an 
army  idle  was  constantly  harped  upon,  and  immense  pres 
sure  was  again  brought  to  bear  upon  Lincoln  to  remove 
Grant  from  command.  Disappointed  tradesmen,  jealous 
officers,  copperheads,  and  non-combatants  alike  joined 
in  the  howl  against  him.  McClernand  wrote  an  impas 
sioned  letter  to  Governor  Yates,  asking  him  to  join  with 
the  governors  of  Iowa  and  Indiana  in  demanding  a  com 
petent  commander — himself,  for  example. 

Many  of  Grant's  friends  deserted  him  and  added  their 
voices  to  the  clamor  of  criticism.  Those  who  had  shouted 
largest  professions  after  Donelson  and  Shiloh  now  has 
tened  to  apologize,  like  Peter,  declaring  they  had  never 
lifted  up  their  caps  for  him. 

In  an  interview,  Lincoln  said :  "  Even  Washburne  has 
deserted  Grant."  And  at  last  Lincoln  himself  became 
so  doubtful  of  Grant's  character  and  ability  that  he  con 
sented  to  allow  the  Secretary  of  War  to  send  Charles  A. 
Dana  (formerly  a  writer  on  the  "  Tribune,"  and  a  friend 
of  the  Secretary  of  War)  to  the  front,  to  report  the  condi 
tion  of  the  army,  and  to  study  the  relations  between  Grant 
and  McClernand;  and  later  General  Lorenzo  Thomas 

224  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

arrived  at  Commodore  Porter's  headquarters  with  an 
order  relieving  Grant,  if  he  should  find  it  necessary. 
Porter  told  General  Thomas  that  if  the  news  got  out 
the  "  boys  "  would  tar  and  feather  him,  and  for  various 
reasons  the  order  never  saw  the  light. 

Halleck,  however,  stood  manfully  by  Grant  (as  the 
official  records  show),  making  no  complaints ;  to  the  con 
trary,  he  wrote  very  stimulating  letters. 

The  eyes  and  hopes  of  the  whole  country  are  now  directed 
to  your  army.  In  my  opinion,  the  opening  of  the  Mississippi 
River  will  be  more  advantage  to  us  than  the  capturing  of  forty 
Richmonds.  We  shall  omit  nothing  which  we  can  do  to  assist 

Grant  betrayed  his  anxiety,  but  he  did  not  express 
doubt  or  irritation.  He  knew  he  could  do  the  work.  He 
never  boasted,  never  asked  favors,  and  never  answered 
charges.  When  he  communicated  with  Lincoln  or  Stan- 
ton,  it  was  officially. 

The  attempt  by  way  of  the  Yazoo  was  a  complete 
failure,  and  the  passage  to  the  west  by  way  of  Lake 
Providence  was  also  a  failure,  while  the  ceaseless  rains 
and  floods  still  prevented  any  successful  venture  in  the 
way  of  crossing  the  land  on  the  west  side  of  the  river. 
The  canal,  too,  was  a  failure — not  because  it  started 
wrong, — that  is  to  say,  in  an  eddy, — but  because  the  river 
was  higher  than  the  land,  and  the  water  spread  out  over 
the  low  ground  and  had  no  cutting  power.  There  was 
nothing  to  do  but  wait  for  the  waters  to  subside. 

His  plan  was  now  mature.  As  soon  as  the  roads 
emerged  from  the  water  he  intended  to  run  the  batteries 
with  gunboats  and  transports,  marching  his  troops  across 
the  land  meanwhile  to  a  point  below  Vicksburg,  and  there, 
by  means  of  the  boats,  transport  a  division  across  the  river, 
and  storm  Grand  Gulf,  the  enemy's  first  outpost  to  the 
south.  Thence,  after  cooperating  with  Banks  in  the  cap 
ture  of  Port  Hudson,  it  was  his  purpose  to  swing  by  a 
mighty  half-wheel  to  the  rear  of  Vicksburg,  cutting  off 
supplies  from  central  Mississippi,  and  capturing  General 
Pemberton's  army. 


He  had  all  to  gain  and  little  to  lose  in  this  bold  plan, 
which  he  first  mentioned  to  Porter  and  Sherman.  Porter 
agreed,  and  was  ready  to  move;  so,  indeed,  was  McCler- 
nand  ;  but  the  audacity  of  the  campaign  alarmed  the  other 
officers.  Sherman  did  not  believe  in  it,  and  suggested 
other  plans.  The  boats  would  not  live  a  minute  under 
the  guns,  he  said;  and  when  they  were  below,  what  then? 
They  would  be  cut  off  from  supplies  and  reinforcements. 
He  finally  sent  a  letter  with  a  counter-suggestion  to  Grant, 
asking  him  to  read  it  carefully.  Partly  because  of  Sher 
man's  skepticism,  and  partly  out  of  regard  for  McCler- 
nand's  superb  work  in  raising  recruits,  Grant  gave  to 
McClernand  augmented  command,  and  sent  him  in 
advance  by  way  of  a  levee  which  ran  from  Milliken's 
Bend  to  Carthage.  Mr.  Dana  uttered  a  protest  against 
this,  and  was  supported  in  his  objection  by  Admiral 
Porter  and  by  nearly  all  the  officers  of  the  army  and  navy, 
for  there  seemed  to  be  general  lack  of  confidence  in  the 
"  political  general."  But  Grant  was  firm  in  his  desire  to 
allow  McClernand  as  much  of  command  as  he  safely  could. 
Porter  states  that  at  a  meeting  of  the  officers  on  board  his 
flag-ship,  the  night  before  his  attempt  to  run  the  batteries, 
all  the  officers  argued  against  it.  Grant  listened  for  the 
last  time  to  all  they  had  to  say,  then  said :  "  I  remain  of 
the  same  mind.  Be  prepared  to  move." 

The  running  of  the  batteries  took  place  on  the  i6th  of 
April,  and  was  one  of  the  most  dramatic  and  splendid 
actions  of  the  war.  The  night  was  dark  and  perfectly 
still  when  brave  Admiral  Porter,  on  his  flag-ship  Benton, 
dropped  soundlessly  into  the  current.  Each  boat  was 
protected  as  well  as  possible  by  bales  of  cotton,  and  had 
no  lights  except  small  guiding  lamps  astern.  The  other 
boats  were  ordered  to  follow  at  intervals  of  twenty  min 
utes.  Grant  and  his  staff  occupied  a  transport  anchored 
in  the  middle  of  the  river  as  far  down  as  it  was  safe 
to  go. 

For  a  little  time  the  silence  of  the  beautiful  night  re 
mained  unbroken.  The  hush  was  painful  in  its  foreboding 
intensity.  Along  the  four  miles  of  battery-planted  heights 
there  was  no  sound  or  light  to  indicate  the  wakefulness  of 

226  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

the  gunners;  but  they  were  awake!  Suddenly  a  flame 
broke  from  one  of  the  lower  batteries ;  a  watch-dog  cannon 
had  sounded  the  warning.  Then  a  rocket  rose  in  the  air 
with  a  shriek.  The  alarm  was  taken  up,  and  each  grim 
monster  had  his  word ;  and  from  end  to  end  of  the  line  of 
hills,  successive  rosy  flashes  broke,  and  roar  joined  roar. 
Flames  leaped  forth ;  bonfires  flared  aloft  to  light  the  river 
and  betray  the  enemy  to  the  gunners.  Then  the  gun 
boats  awoke,  and  from  their  sullenly  silent  hulks  answer 
ing  lightnings  streamed  upward,  and  the  whole  fleet 
became  visible  to  the  awed  army  and  to  the  terrified  city. 
The  long-expected  had  happened :  Grant  was  making  his 
final  attempt  on  Vicksburg. 

The  sky  above  the  city  was  red  with  the  glare  of  flam 
ing  buildings  on  the  hills,  and  burning  boats  and  bales  of 
cotton  on  the  river,  and  the  thunder  of  guns  was  incessant. 
It  seemed  as  though  every  transport  would  be  sunk  be 
neath  the  tempest  of  falling  shot. 

But  the  tumult  died  out  at  last.  The  gunboats  swept 
on  out  of  reach.  The  flames  on  the  land  sank  to  smol 
dering  coals,  the  stillness  and  peace  of  an  April  night 
again  settled  over  the  river,  and  the  frogs  began  timidly 
to  trill  once  more  in  the  marshes. 

Porter's  gunboats,  almost  uninjured,  were  now  below 
Vicksburg.  Grant's  mighty  host  of  footmen  was  ready 
to  follow. 

On  the  2Oth  of  April,  having  been  over  the  route  in 
person,  Grant  issued  orders  for  his  army  to  move.  These 
orders  hinted  of  great  things.  "  Troops  will  be  required 
to  bivouac.  One  tent  only  will  be  allowed  each  company, 
one  wall-tent  to  each  brigade  headquarters,  and  one  to 
each  division  headquarters.  As  fast  as  the  Thirteenth 
Army-Corps  advances  the  Seventeenth  Army-Corps  will 
take  its  place,  and  it,  in  turn,  will  be  followed  in  like 
manner  by  the  Fifteenth  Army- Corps.  Commanders  are 
authorized  and  empowered  to  collect  all  beef,  cattle,  corn, 
and  other  necessary  supplies  in  the  line  of  march ;  but 
wanton  destruction  of  property,  taking  of  articles  useless 
for  military  purposes,  insulting  citizens,  going  into  and 
searching  houses  without  proper  orders  from  division  com- 


manders,  are  positively  prohibited.  All  such  irregularities 
must  be  summarily  punished." 

And  so,  with  cheers  of  elation,  with  renewed  confidence 
in  the  "  old  commander,"  the  army  began  to  stretch  and 
stream  away  in  endless  procession  along  the  narrow  and 
slippery  roads  on  the  levee-top.  McPherson's  troops 
followed,  and  Sherman  kept  the  rear.  The  point  of  assault 
was  Grand  Gulf,  the  enemy's  outpost  to  the  south  of 
Vicksburg.  McClernand's  corps  moved  first. 

Grant  himself  took  no  personal  baggage,  not  even  a 
valise,  and  the  army  soon  found  this  out.  The  new  men 
did  not  need  to  be  told  that  this  was  no  parade  soldier 
who  led  them.  He  had  no  attendants,  no  imported  deli 
cacies,  no  special  accommodations.  He  was  spattered 
with  mud,  grizzled  of  beard,  and  wherever  he  went  the 
"  boys "  felt  a  twinge  of  singular  emotion.  They  had 
admired  him  before ;  they  began  to  love  him  now,  and 
he  became  the  "  old  man  "  to  them.  And  yet,  he  was  as 
unostentatious  of  his  camaraderie  as  he  was  of  his  com 
mand.  He  was  his  simple  self  in  all  this.  He  meant 
business,  and  spared  himself  not  at  all,  and  neglected  no 

The  attack  on  Grand  Gulf  failed,  and  Grant,  ordering 
Porter  to  run  the  batteries  of  Grand  Gulf,  moved  on  down 
the  river,  and  landed  at  a  point  called  De  Schroon's,  just 
above  Bruinsburg,  being  led  to  do  so  by  information  from 
a  negro  that  a  good  road  led  inland  to  Port  Gibson  and 
Jackson  from  that  point.  Meanwhile,  to  keep  Pemberton 

*  "  While  I  was  standing  by  the  pontoon-bridge,  watching  the  boys  cross 
the  bayou,  I  heard  some  one  cheering,  and,  looking  around,  saw  an  officer  on 
horseback  in  a  major-general's  uniform.  He  dismounted  and  came  over  to 
the  spot  where  I  was  standing.  I  did  not  know  his  face,  but  something  told 
me  it  was  Grant.  He  stood  solid,  erect,  with  square  features,  thin  closed 
lips,  brown  hair,  brown  beard,  both  cut  short  and  neat.  He  weighed  appa 
rently  about  one  hundred  and  fifty  pounds.  He  looked  larger  than  Napoleon, 
and  not  so  dumpy.  He  looked  like  a  man  in  earnest.  I  heard  him  say  r 
'  Men,  push  right  along;  close  up  fast,  and  hurry  over.'  Two  or  three  men 
mounted  on  mules  attempted  to  wedge  pass  the  soldiers  on  the  bridge.  Grant 
noticed  it,  and  quietly  said:  'Lieutenant,  send  those  men  to  the  rear.' 
There  was  no  posturing  for  effect,  no  nonsense,  no  sentiment,  no  pointing  to 
the  pyramids,  no  calling  the  centuries  to  witness  ;  only  a  plain  business  man, 
filled  with  the  single  purpose  of  getting  that  command  across  the  river  in  the 
shortest  time  possible." — S.  H.  BYERS. 

228  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

occupied  with  things  above,  Sherman  had  been  ordered  to 
make  a  great  show  of  attack  on  Vicksburg  itself,  and  then 
suddenly  to  silence  his  guns  and  hasten  to  join  the  forces 

On  the  morning  of  the  3<Dth  of  April,  McClernand's 
troops  and  part  of  McPherson's  command  were  landed  on 
the  east  bank  of  the  river  below  "Vicksburg,  and  Grant's 
spirits  rose.  "  I  felt  a  degree  of  relief  scarcely  ever 
equaled  since."  And  yet,  one  would  say  the  outlook  was 
not  reassuring.  He  was  "  in  the  enemy's  country,  with  a 
vast  river  and  the  stronghold  of  Vicksburg  between  him 
and  his  base  of  supplies."  He  had  two  armies  to  fight, 
one  intrenched  at  Vicksburg,  the  other  at  Jackson,  less 
than  four  days'  march  to  the  east,  with  the  whole  of  the 
Confederacy  back  of  it.  But  he  was  again  on  dry  ground, 
out  of  the  terrible  swamps  and  bayous  of  the  flat  country ; 
so  much  was  gained. 

He  hurried  McClernand  forward  toward  Port  Gibson, 
to  prevent  the  destruction  of  an  important  bridge.  Parts 
of  McPherson's  command  arrived,  but  still  the  invading 
army  was  small,  less  than  twenty  thousand  men,  with  no 
pack-train,  and  with  only  two  days'  rations.  On  the 
second  day  the  enemy  was  met  in  force,  but  defeated. 
Reinforcements  kept  arriving,  and  the  chief  was  buoyant 
of  spirits,  although  for  five  days  he  had  been  on  short 
rations  and  had  not  removed  his  clothing  to  sleep.  Grand 
Gulf,  being  uncovered  by  the  battle  of  Port  Gibson,  was 
evacuated,  and  on  May  3  Grant  rode  into  the  fortress, 
finding  Porter  before  it  with  his  fleet  of  gunboats. 

Grant  now  heard  from  General  Banks,  who  was  in 
command  on  the  Lower  Mississippi,  and  could  not  assist ; 
and  abandoning  all  idea  of  cooperation  with  him,  he  cut 
loose  from  Grand  Gulf  and  the  river,  and  moved  into  the 
interior,  determined  to  get  between  Vicksburg  and  its 
supplies,  and  to  isolate  it  from  the  Confederacy.  "  I  shall 
communicate  with  Grand  Gulf  no  more,"  he  wrote  to 
Halleck,  "  except  as  it  becomes  necessary  to  send  a  train 
with  heavy  escort.  You  may  not  hear  from  me  for  several 

Again,  as  at  Donelson,  he  put  himself  out  of  reach  of 

U.  S.  Grant,  age  41  years. 
Taken  in  1863,  before  Vicksburg.     From  a  defective  negative. 


the  department's  meddling.  He  assumed  all  responsibility 
for  this  tremendous  venture.  To  fail  would  make  him  the 
most  bitterly  execrated  man  in  the  nation ;  to  win  would 
open  the  Mississippi  and  give  the  whole  Southwest  to  the 
Union.  Others  blustered,  projected,  doubted,  grew  vain 
glorious.  Grant  took  upon  himself  this  enormous  respon 
sibility  without  change  of  manner.  He  rode  among  his 
legions,  as  simple  in  manner  as  any  private  soldier.  "  The 
expression  of  his  face  was  stern  and  care-worn,  but  deter 
mined,"  says  one  who  saw  him. 

He  rode  a  borrowed  horse.  He  had  no  camp-chest,  no 
change  of  clothing,  and  no  tent.  Here  his  splendid  consti 
tution  stood  him  in  good  stead.  His  plain  and  rigorous  boy 
hood,  his  training  at  West  Point,  his  roughing  it  in  Mexico 
and  on  the  coast,  his  farm  life,  all  enabled  him  to  endure 
hardship  which  would  have  broken  down  many  young  men, 
to  say  nothing  of  the  enormous  strain  of  responsibility  and 
direction.  He  could  wrap  himself  in  a  blanket  and  sleep 
beneath  a  tree,  or,  if  it  rained,  he  could  bow  his  head  to  the 
pelting  drops,  ~nd  sit  as  patiently  as  an  Indian,  waiting 
for  daylight.  As  for  meals,  he  took  them  when  and  where 
he  found  them.  Such  a  commander  could  not  fail  to  in 
spire  the  deepest  feelings  of  respect  and  confidence  in  his 
men,  although  he  was  "  plain  as  an  old  stove."  It  was  hard 
for  new  troops  to  believe  that  the  low- voiced  man  in  the 
blouse  and  straw  hat  was  the  one  center  of  all  direction 
and  command  of  this  mighty  force.  "  His  horse,  however, 
was  always  in  full  uniform.  That  was  due  to  the  orderly, 
no  doubt." 

The  next  day  after  leaving  Grand  Gulf  he  learned, 
through  Colonel  Wilson,  and  Rawlins,  his  chief  of  staff, 
that  the  forces  defeated  by  McPherson  had  fallen  back, 
not  toward  Vicksburg,  but  toward  Jackson.  He  instantly 
surmised  that  a  considerable  army  was  concentrating  in 
that  direction.  "  Simply  asking  one  or  two  questions,  and 
without  rising  from  his  chair,  he  wrote  orders  which  turned 
his  entire  army  toward  Jackson." 

Then,  mounting  his  horse,  he  set  his  command  in 
motion,  sweeping  resistlessly  into  the  interior.  This 
moment  when  he  turned  his  army  toward  Jackson  is  one 

230  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

of  the  greatest  in  his  career.  It  showed  the  decision, 
boldness,  and  intrepidity  of  the  man  beyond  dispute. 
Everything  gave  way  before  him,  and  while  pigs,  cattle, 
chickens,  mules,  forage,  and  other  good  things  were  caught 
and  carried  forward  by  the  vacuum  in  the  wake  of  his 
march,  there  was  little  pillaging  and  no  burning.  He  was 
a  humane  invader.  Perhaps  in  all  this  he  was  working  out 
suggestions  gained  by  his  observance  of  Scott  when  he  cut 
loose  from  Vera  Cruz  and  started  toward  the  mysterious 
interior  of  Mexico. 

Jackson  was  carried  on  the  I4th.  The  Union  flag  was 
raised  on  the  state-house,  and  Grant  slept  in  the  same 
room  that  the  Confederate  chief  occupied  the  night  before. 

General  Johnston  sent  a  despatch  to  Pemberton,  which 
fell  into  Grant's  hands,  though  he  did  not  need  it  to  tell 
him  what  to  do.  He  hastened  the  movement  of  McCler- 
nand  and  McPherson  toward  Vicksburg,  to  head  off  John 
ston's  attempt  to  join  Pemberton,  and  to  meet  the 
Confederate  troops.  The  armies  met  in  a  savage  battle  at 
Champion's  Hill,  and  Pemberton  was  forced  to  retire,  after 
four  hours'  hard  fighting.* 

He  rapidly  retreated  to  the  Big  Black  River,  where  he 
made  another  feeble  stand,  and  then  withdrew  into  Vicks 
burg,  leaving  the  victorious  army  of  Grant  between  him- 

*  "  The  next  time  I  saw  him  was  under  fire  at  Champion  Hills.  We  were 
standing  two  files  deep,  bearing  as  patiently  as  we  could  a  heavy  and  steady 
fire  from  infantry,  while  an  occasional  cannon-ball  tore  up  the  earth  in  our 

"  '  Colonel,  move  your  men  a  little  by  the  left  flank,'  said  a  quiet  though 
commanding  voice.  On  looking  around  I  saw  Grant  immediately  behind  us. 
He  was  mounted  on  a  beautiful  gray  mare,  and  followed  by  several  of  his 
staff.  For  some  reason  he  dismounted,  and  most  of  his  officers  were  sent  to 
other  parts  of  the  field.  Here  was  Grant  under  fire.  He  stood  leaning 
quietly  against  his  horse,  smoking  the  stump  of  a  cigar.  His  was  the  only 
horse  near  the  line,  and  must  naturally  have  attracted  the  enemy's  fire. 
'  What  if  he  should  be  killed?  '  I  thought  to  myself.  In  front  of  us  was  an 
enemy,  behind  us  and  about  us,  and  liable  to  overcome  and  crush  us  at  any 
moment.  For  days  we  had  been  away  from  our  base  of  supplies  and  march 
ing  inside  the  enemy's  lines.  What  if  Grant  should  be  killed?  I  am  sure 
every  one  who  saw  him  wished  him  away ;  but  there  he  was,  and  there  he 
remained,  clear,  calm,  and  immovable,  with  no  sign  of  inward  movement 
upon  his  features.  It  was  the  same  cool,  calculating  face  that  I  had  seen  at 
the  bridge,  the  same  careful,  half-cynical  face  I  afterward  saw  busied  with 
the  affairs  of  state." — S.  H.  BYERS. 


self  and  Johnston.  The  game  was  in  the  bag,  and  Grant 
smiled  in  grim  fashion,  and  closed  around  the  city.  This 
was  on  the  nineteenth  day  of  May.  He  had  been  on 
the  road  one  month. 

On  this  day  Sherman,  with  Grant  by  his  side,  stood  on 
Haines's  Bluff  and  looked  down  on  the  very  spot  whence 
his  baffled  army  had  fallen  back  months  before.  He 
turned  to  Grant,  saying:  "General,  up  to  this  minute  I 
had  no  positive  assurance  of  success.  This,"  he  said,  "  is 
the  end  of  one  of  the  greatest  campaigns  in  history." 
Grant  was  deeply  gratified,  but  he  was  not  one  to  anticl 
pate  victory. 

On  the  1 9th  of  May,  immediately  after  crossing  the  Big 
Black,  Grant  ordered  a  preliminary  assault  which  set  the 
two  armies  face  to  face.  On  the  22d  he  ordered  a  grand 
assault.  This  order  was  a  result  of  news  of  Johnston's 
advance.  He  was  but  fifty  miles  away,  with  a  large  army. 
To  assault  and  win  would  set  free  a  large  force  sufficient 
to  defeat,  and  possibly  capture,  Johnston.  Moreover,  the 
officers  and  men  were  eager  for  a  chance  to  "  walk  into 
Vicksburg."  They  believed  they  could  storm  and  carry 
the  works  in  an  hour.  So  Grant  gave  the  word,  and 
the  22d  of  May  will  forever  remain  memorable  as  a  day 
of  terrible  slaughter. 

The  enemy  occupied  a  series  of  sharp  ridges  in  a  vast 
semicircle  about  two  miles  from  the  city,  and,  to  assault 
the  Federals,  were  obliged  to  descend  into  hollows  and 
charge  up  the  steep  hillsides  through  canebrake  meshed 
with  fallen  trees,  in  the  face  of  appalling  fire.  The 
men  charged  with  exalted  bravery  up  to  the  bases  of 
the  parapets,  and  in  some  cases  were  forced  to  lie  there 
all  day  to  avoid  the  enemy's  guns.  As  night  fell  the 
army  fell  back  without  having  carried  a  single  redoubt. 
It  was  a  wasting  and  disastrous  assault,  but  it  had  this 
virtue :  it  convinced  the  soldiers  that  Vicksburg  was  to  be 
taken  only  by  determined  siege,  and  made  them  patient 
of  what  followed. 

Grant  now  called  upon  his  engineers  to  see  what  they 
could  do. 
"  The  soil  lent  itself  to  the  most  elaborate  trenching.     It 

232  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

was  a  huge  deposit  of  glacial  drift,  and  could  be  cut  like 
cheese.  Grant  personally  supervised  this  work  every  day, 
and  his  questions  were  always  shrewd  and  pat.  He  went 
ahead  alone,  quietly  and  keenly  studying  every  detail  of 
the  work."  He  was  impatient  of  delay,  but  he  showed  it 
only  in  this  careful  study  of  progress  from  day  to  day. 

Suddenly  the  army  disappeared.  It  sank  beneath  the 
earth,  and,  like  some  monstrous  subterranean  monster,  ate 
its  way  inexorably  toward  the  enemy's  lines,  as  Worth's 
little  band  approached  the  Central  Plaza  of  Monterey 
through  the  adobe  walls  of  its  gardens. 

The  digging  of  trenches  and  the  exploding  of  mines, 
great  as  they  were,  are  now  seen  to  have  been  only  inci 
dents  in  the  besieging  process  under  Grant's  persistent 
command.  He  not  only  held  Johnston  at  bay,  but  never 
halted  in  his  inexorable  advance.  Foot  by  foot,  the  army 
closed  round  the  doomed  city  like  the  torture-room  of  the 
Inquisition,  whose  walls  contracted  with  every  tick  of  the 

On  foot,  dusty,  and  in  plain  clothes,  with  head  droop 
ing  in  thought,  but  with  quick  eyes  seeing  all  that  went 
on,  the  "  old  man  "  walked  the  ditches  or  stood  upon  the 
hills  studying  the  situation,  careless — criminally  careless 
— of  his  person.  The  soldiers  hardly  discovered  who  he 
was  before  he  was  gone.  He  invited  no  cheers  or  salutes, 
but  when  they  came  he  returned  them  instantly,  no  mat 
ter  how  humble  the  source. 

In  this  period,  when  success  seemed  sure,  claimants  for 
the  honor  of  originating  the  plan  of  the  campaign  arose, 
and  the  discussion  raged  endlessly.  Men  who  had  been 
glad  to  shift  responsibility  when  the  issue  was  in  doubt 
now  hastened  to  let  the  world  know  that  it  was  their  own 
plan.  Grant  never  changed ;  as  he  had  attempted  no  shift 
of  responsibility,  so  now  he  troubled  himself  very  little 
about  the  claims  of  others.  He  had  done  a  better  thing 
than  originate  the  plan  of  campaign :  he  had  executed  it. 

By  the  1st  of  July  the  two  armies  were  within  pitch- 
and-toss  distance  of  each  other.  A  mighty  host  had 
turned  moles.  By  day  all  was  solitary.  The  heaps  of 
red  earth  alone  gave  indication  of  activity.  No  living 


thing  moved  over  the  battle-ground ;  yet  fifty  thousand 
men  were  there,  ready  to  rise  and  fly  at  each  other  at  a 
word  from  the  "  old  commander."  At  night  low  words, 
ghostly  whispers,  and  subdued  noises  ran  up  and  down 
the  advance-lines,  as  the  blue-coated  sappers  and  miners 
pushed  forward  some  trench,  or  some  weary,  thirsty 
file  in  a  rifle-pit  gave  place  to  a  relief.  Occasionally 
out  of  the  blank  darkness  a  rebel  gun  would  crack,  to  be 
answered  by  a  score  of  Union  rifles  aimed  at  the  rosy 
flash.  A  feeling  grew  in  each  army  that  the  end  was 

Humorous  conversations  took  place  on  picket-line: 

"Hello,  Yank!  " 

"Hello,  Reb!  " 

"What  you-uns  doin'  out  there?" 

"  Guarding  thirty  thousand  o'  you  prisoners,  and  makin' 
you  board  yourselves." 

"When  you-uns  goin'  to  take  Vicksburg?" 

"  About  the  4th  of  July.  We  want  to  celebrate  and  lick 
you  fellers  all  the  same  day." 

On  the  night  of  the  2d  the  word  was  passed  around 
that  a  final  assault  was  to  be  made  on  the  Fourth.  The 
batteries  were  to  open  with  a  salute  of  a  hundred  guns  in 
honor  of  the  day,  and  continue  till  further  orders.  The 
advance-guard  was  told  to  let  the  enemy  know  this.  A 
yell  went  up  which  attracted  the  enemy's  attention. 

"Hello,  Yank;  what's  up?" 

"  We  're  goin'  to  give  you  hell  on  the  Fourth — orders 
just  in.  We  're  goin'  to  pile  right  in  on  top  o'  ye." 

"What  '11  we  be  doin'  all  the  while?" 

"  Gasping  for  breath.     Say  your  prayers,  Johnny!  " 

This  order  produced  vast  excitement  within  the  lines. 
The  news  went  to  Pemberton.  He  knew  his  men  could 
not  stand  an  assault  such  as  Grant  could  now  make.  His 
lines  were  pierced  in  a  score  of  places.  He  was  out  of 
food,  out  of  ammunition.  His  men  were  lean,  weary,  and 
dispirited.  He  despaired  of  any  help  from  Johnston. 

On  the  morning  of  the  3d  of  July  a  white  flag  appeared 
on  the  Confederate  works.  Again  a  Southern  general 
asked  for  commissioners  to  arrange  terms  of  surrender. 

234  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

Again  Grant  replied :  "  I  have  no  terms  other  than  un 
conditional  surrender,"  but  added  that  the  brave  men 
within  the  works  would  be  treated  with  all  the  respect  due 
to  prisoners  of  war. 

General  Bowen,  the  blindfold  messenger  of  peace,  asked 
Grant  to  meet  General  Pemberton  between  the  lines ;  and 
supposing  this  to  be  General  Pemberton's  wish,  he  con 
sented,  and  at  mid-afternoon  a  wondrous  scene  took  place. 
At  about  3  P.  M.  General  Grant  rode  forward  to  the 
extreme  Union  trenches,  dismounted,  and  walked  calmly 
and  slowly  toward  the  center  of  the  lines.  At  about  the 
same  time  General  Pemberton  left  his  lines,  and,  accom 
panied  by  General  Bowen  and  several  of  his  staff,  advanced 
to  meet  Grant. 

Then  from  the  hitherto  silent,  motionless,  ridged,  and 
ravaged  hills  grimy  heads  and  dusty  shoulders  rose,  till 
every  embankment  bristled  with  bayonets.  It  was  as  if, 
at  some  unheard  signal,  an  army  of  gnomes  had  suddenly 
risen  from  their  secret  runways.  The  underground  sud 
denly  became  of  the  open  air.  The  inexorable  burrowing 
of  the  Northern  army  ceased. 

A  shiver  of  excitement  ran  over  the  men  of  both  sides, 
and  all  eyes  were  fixed  upon  that  fateful  figure  advancing 
toward  the  enemy,  unexcitedly,  with  bent  head,  treading 
the  ground  so  long  traversed  only  by  the  wing  of  the  bullet 
and  the  shadow  of  the  shell.  What  he  felt  could  not  be 
divined  by  any  action  of  his.  His  visage  was  never  more 
inscrutable  in  its  stern,  calm  lines. 

The  man  who  advanced  to  meet  him  was  an  old  comrade 
in  arms — the  same  Pemberton,  indeed,  who  had  conveyed 
to  Lieutenant  Grant,  at  San  Cosme  gate,  the  compliments 
of  General  Worth.  He  came  to  this  conference  laboring 
under  profound  excitement ;  but  Grant  was  easy  in  man 
ner,  and  greeted  him  as  an  old  acquaintance,  but  waited 
for  him  to  begin.  There  was  an  Awkward  silence.  Grant 
waited  insistently,  for  his  understanding  was  that  Pember 
ton  stood  ready  to  make  the  first  advance.  Pemberton  at 
last  began  arrogantly : 

"  General  Grant,  I  was  present  at  the  surrender  of  many 
fortresses  in  Mexico,  and  in  all  cases  the  enemy  granted 


terms  and  conditions.  I  think  my  army  as  much  entitled 
to  these  favors  as  a  foreign  foe." 

"  All  the  terms  I  have  are  stated  in  my  letter  of  this 
morning,"  Grant  replied. 

Pemberton  drew  himself  stiffly  erect.  "  Then  the  con 
ference  may  as  well  terminate,  and  hostilities  begin." 

"  Very  well,"  replied  Grant.  "  My  army  was  never  in 
better  condition  to  prosecute  the  siege." 

Pemberton's  eyes  flashed.  "  You  '11  bury  a  good  many 
more  men  before  you  get  into  Vicksburg." 

This  seemed  to  end  the  meeting;  but  General  Bowen 
intervened,  urging  a  further  conference ;  and  while  he  and 
General  A.  J.  Smith  conversed,  Grant  and  Pemberton 
also  moved  aside,  and  sat  down  on  a  bank  under  a  low 
oak-tree.  Pemberton  was  trembling  with  emotion,  but 
Grant  sat  with  bent  head,  one  hand  idly  pulling  up  grass- 
blades.  Suddenly  the  boom  of  cannon  began  again  from 
the  gunboats. 

Grant's  face  showed  concern  for  the  first  time.  He 

"  This  is  a  mistake.  I  will  send  to  Admiral  Porter  and 
have  that  stopped." 

"Oh,  never  mind;  let  it  go  on,"  said  Pemberton,  con 
temptuously.  "  It  won't  hurt  anybody.  The  gunboats 
never  hurt  anybody." 

"  I  '11  go  home  and  write  out  the  terms,"  Grant  finally 
said,  as  he  rose  to  go. 

The  terms  were  exceedingly  fair.  Pemberton  was  to 
give  possession  at  8  A.  M.,  July  4;  "  and  as  soon  as  rolls 
are  made  out  and  paroles  signed  by  officers  and  men,  you 
will  be  allowed  to  march  out  of  our  lines,  the  officers  tak 
ing  with  them  side-arms  and  clothing,  and  the  field,  staff, 
and  cavalry  officers  one  horse  each.  The  rank  and  file 
will  be  allowed  all  their  clothing,  but  no  other  property." 
Perhaps  Grant  was  moved  to  these  generous  terms  by  the 
recollection  of  Scott's  treatment  of  Santa  Ana's  troops  at 
Cerro  Gordo.  At  any  rate,  they  were  criticized  as  being 
absurdly  lenient. 

At  ten  o'clock  on  the  morning  of  the  4th  of  July  the 
ragged,  emaciated  soldiers  who  had  defended  Vicks- 

236  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

burg  so  stanchly  "  marched  out  of  their  intrenchments. 
With  sad  faces,  the  men  of  each  regiment  stacked  their 
arms,  threw  down  upon  them  knapsacks,  belts,  cartridges, 
and  cap-pouches,  and  then  tenderly  crowned  the  piles  with 
their  faded  and  riddled  colors."  Their  stained  clothing 
contrasted  mournfully  with  the  blue  of  the  Union  troops. 
For  forty  days  they  had  lain  in  the  pits,  eating  the  scan 
tiest  fare,  and  to  many  of  them  it  was  a  welcome  relief  to 
throw  down  their  muskets.  For  two  hours  this  movement 
went  on,  with  no  derisive  cry  or  gesture  on  the  part  of 
the  victors.  They  knew  the  quality  of  these  lean  and  tat 
tered  men,  who  were  mistaken,  but  who  were  fighters. 

The  victor  allowed  himself  no  indulgences.  He  was 
sleeplessly  active.  He  had  no  thought  of  resting  or  going 
into  summer  quarters.  He  put  McPherson  in  command 
of  Vicksburg.  He  sent  Sherman  after  Johnston  the 
moment  Pemberton  capitulated.  He  despatched  a  mes 
senger  to  Banks,  asking  his  needs.  He  forwarded  the 
Ninth  Army-Corps  to  Bear  Creek,  to  be  ready  to  reinforce 
Sherman  if  it  were  necessary,  and,  providing  for  their 
return  and  movement  to  Kentucky,  he  ordered  the  boats 
to  be  in  readiness  to  transport  the  troops.  He  ordered 
Herron's  division  to  be  in  readiness  to  reinforce  Banks. 
He  brought  all  the  remaining  troops  within  the  rebel  lines, 
and  gave  orders  to  obliterate  the  works  which  the  Union 
army  had  toiled  so  long  to  fashion,  and  sent  his  engineers 
to  determine  upon  a  shorter  line,  if  possible,  in  order  that 
the  garrison  should  be  small.  He  advised  Logan  that  as 
soon  as  the  rebel  prisoners  were  out  of  the  way  he  intended 
to  send  him  to  the  Tensas  to  clear  out  the  Confederate 
troops  there.  And  in  the  midst  of  this  multiplex  activity 
he  asked  Mr.  Dana  to  inquire  of  General  Halleck  whether 
he  intended  him  to  follow  his  own  judgment  in  future 
movements,  or  cooperate  in  some  particular  scheme  of 

His  army  was  now  let  loose  for  other  campaigns,  and 
this  the  Southern  leaders  thoroughly  understood.  The 
fall  of  Vicksburg  was  a  disaster.  The  march  of  Grant's 
army  foreboded  the  downfall  of  the  Confederacy. 

In  all  the   correspondence   of  this   strange  conqueror 


there  is  scarcely  a  single  word  of  exultation,  not  a  second 
allusion  to  victory,  even  to  his  wife.  He  fought  battles 
and  won  victories  in  the  design  of  moving  to  other  battles 
and  other  victories.  His  plan  was  to  whip  the  enemy  and 
win  a  lasting  peace. 

The  Vicksburg  campaign  had  the  audacity  of  the  com 
mon  sense  in  opposition  to  the  traditional.  What  the 
military  authorities  had  settled  he  could  not  do  he  did 
swiftly,  with  astounding  despatch,  accuracy,  and  coherence 
of  design.  He  kept  his  own  counsel, — a  greater  feat  than 
the  other,— and  it  added  to  the  mystery  of  his  movements 
and  the  certainty  of  his  results. 

He  shrank  from  no  necessary  hardship.  He  was  not  a 
student  of  books,  but  of  life.  He  had  acquired  his  wis 
dom  by  experience.  He  had  packed  mules  in  Mexico, 
and  bound  grain  under  the  August  sun  of  Missouri,  and 
hewn  logs  for  his  own  cabin.  He  knew  what  men  could 
endure,  and  how  much  feed  a  horse  required  for  a  day's 
march.  His  constitution  and  training  enabled  him  to  defy 
fevers,  to  eat  hardtack,  and  to  sleep  where  night  over 
took  him,  without  vexation  or  complaint.  Pestilence  and 
the  sea  and  the  poisonous  things  of  the  forest,  as  well  as 
the  cannon  of  the  enemy,  he  had  faced  with  calm  intre 
pidity.  It  seemed  as  if  all  things  stood  aside  to  see  him 
pass  on  to  his  larger  life  as  a  great  commander.  Belmont, 
Henry,  Donelson,  Shiloh,  and  Vicksburg — all  these  were 
behind  him,  and  he  had  no  scar.  He  would  not  have 
been  human  had  not  some  feeling  of  foreordination  assumed 
possession  of  him. 

The  Vicksburg  campaign  brought  to  him  a  full  know 
ledge  of  his  power  to  command  men.  He  became  con 
vinced  of  his  ability  to  do  whatever  his  country  demanded 
of  him.  All  that  he  was  before  Vicksburg  he  had  been 
when  he  drove  teams  in  Gravois,  but  his  powers  were 
latent.  Circumstances  gave  him  little,  but  they  developed 

The  Vicksburg  campaign  makes  a  natural  division  in  his 
career.  He  was  now  forty-one  years  of  age,  and  at  his  fullest 
powers  of  command  and  endurance.  He  had  reached  the 
place  where  he  now  stood — in  the  light  of  national  fame, 

238  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

holding  the  full  confidence  of  the  government — without 
money,  without  political  influence,  after  years  of  hardship, 
disappointment,  and  privation.  Now  all  opposition  was 
silenced,  and  his  detractors  were  overborne.  He  had 
placed  himself  among  the  great  generals  of  the  world,  and 
the  nation  waited  to  see  what  the  conqueror  of  Vicksburg 
would  do  next.  On  the  I2th  of  October  he  received  an 
order  making  him  the  commander-in-chief  of  the  entire 
Western  army,  from  the  Cumberland  Mountains  to  the 
Brazos.  This  placed  him  in  command  of  two  hundred 
thousand  men. 



WHEN  the  order  came  from  the  War  Department 
asking  Grant  to  proceed  to  Cairo,  he  was  a  cripple. 
In  returning  from  a  review  of  General  Banks's  troops  at 
Carrollton,  near  New  Orleans,  the  horse  which  he  rode 
became  frightened  at  an  engine,  and  shied  and  fell,  throw 
ing  the  general  with  great  violence  to  the  ground.  He 
was  unconscious  for  some  time,  and  was  housed  two  weeks 
in  New  Orleans  before  he  became  strong  enough  to  return 
to  Vicksburg.  He  was  still  on  crutches,  and  pale  and  thin, 
when  he  met  Secretary  Stanton  at  Louisville,  and  accepted 
the  momentous  command  of  all  the  Western  armies. 

It  was  Sunday  night  when  he  issued  his  orders  taking 
command,  and  telegraphed  General  Thomas  to  hold  Chat 
tanooga  at  all  hazards.  Thomas  valiantly  replied  :  "  I  will 
hold  the  town  till  we  starve!  " 

In  the  words  of  General  Thomas  lay  a  hint  of  the  already 
desperate  situation  of  the  Army  of  the  Cumberland. 
General  Grant,  eminent  practitioner,  had  been  called  to  a 
severe  case — a  well-nigh  hopeless  case.  The  diagnosis  of 
Commander-in- Chief  Halleck  shows  this: 

"  When  General  Buell  was  ordered  into  East  Tennessee, 
in  the  summer  of  1862,  Chattanooga  was  comparatively 
unprotected ;  but  Bragg  reached  there  before  Buell,  and, 
by  threatening  his  communications,  forced  him  to  retreat 
on  Nashville  and  Louisville.  Again,  after  the  battle  of 
Perryville,  General  Buell  was  urged  by  the  War  Depart 
ment  to  pursue  Bragg's  defeated  army  and  drive  it  out 
of  East  Tennessee.  Later,  when  Grant's  campaign  move- 


240  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

ments  on  the  Mississippi  had  drawn  out  of  Tennessee  a 
large  force  of  the  enemy,  General  Rosecrans  was  again 
urged  to  take  advantage  of  the  opportunity ;  but  he  could 
not  be  persuaded  to  act  in  time." 

General  Burnside  at  Knoxville  had  failed  to  cooperate 
with  Rosecrans,  though  urged  to  do  so  several  times  by 
General  Halleck.  The  final  result  of  all  this  had  been  a 
desolating  battle  at  Chickamauga,  near  Chattanooga,  the 
practical  weakening  and  downfall  of  Rosecrans,  and  the 
narrowly  averted  destruction  of  his  whole  army.  Thomas 
had  held  the  rebel  forces  at  bay,  standing  like  a  rock  in 
the  swash  of  a  sudden  flood  of  retreating  men,  wherefore 
he  was  called  the  "  Rock  of  Chickamauga."  The  army 
was  practically  defeated  and  beleaguered  in  its  camps. 

When  General  Grant  took  command,  the  Union  forces 
held  Chattanooga  and  but  little  else  south  of  the  river,  and 
the  confident  enemy  was  within  rifle  distance ;  indeed,  the 
pickets  of  the  two  armies  conversed  across  the  intervening 
space.  The  Confederates  occupied  Missionary  Ridge,  a 
long,  low  hill  to  the  east  and  south,  and  also  Lookout 
Mountain,  a  bold  height  which  almost  overlooked  the 
town;  the  gray  men  blocked  every  line  of  communica 
tion  except  one  long,  hilly,  muddy,  and  well-nigh  impas 
sable  road  ;  and,  finally,  they  stood  between  Rosecrans  and 
General  Burnside's  army  at  Knoxville.  Cooperation  was 
impossible.  The  army  was  on  short  rations,  and  the 
horses  and  mules  were  dying  of  starvation.  The  sick 
and  wounded  soldiers  suffered  for  the  necessaries  of  life. 
To  procure  fire-wood  it  was  necessary  to  skirmish  daily 
with  the  enemy's  sharp-shooters.  The  trip  of  commissary 
wagons,  because  of  weakened  animals  and  sloughs  of  red 
mud,  took  weeks  to  accomplish,  and  the  provisions  spoiled 
on  the  way.  Rosecrans  and  Thomas  had  both  been  haul 
ing  all  their  provisions  over  this  road  under  such  con 
ditions.  The  army  was  practically  at  a  standstill,  and 
wasting  away  slowly  but  steadily. 

Being  in  possession  of  the  main  facts,  General  Grant 
telegraphed  Thomas  from  Nashville  :  "  I  will  leave  here  in 
the  morning,  and  push  through  to  Chattanooga  as  soon  as 
possible.  Should  not  large  working  parties  be  put  upon 








Distinguished  Generals  who  were  fellow-cadets  of  Grant  at  West  Point. 
From  the  Civil  War  collection  of  Mr.  Robert  Coster. 


the  road  between  Bridgeport  and  Chattanooga  at  once? 
General  Meigs  suggests  this,  and  also  that  depots  of  forage 
be  established  on  each  side  of  the  mountain."  He  began 
to  telegraph  for  information  from  Thomas  and  Burnside, 
and  to  make  further  suggestions,  and  took  the  train  toward 
Chattanooga.  The  railway  ran  only  to  Bridgeport. 

From  Bridgeport  the  general  attempted  to  ride  in  an 
ambulance ;  but  the  pitching  and  tossing  wrenched  his 
bruised  and  inflamed  side,  and  he  took  to  his  horse.  The 
rain  fell  in  floods,  and  the  roads  were  well-nigh  impassable, 
but  he  pushed  grimly  forward.  "  Soldiers  bore  him  in 
their  arms  over  the  roughest  places.  At  every  telegraph- 
station  he  despatched  instructions  to  distant  subordinates, 
comprehending  as  if  by  intuition  the  condition  and  needs 
of  his  scattered  forces.  He  inspired  every  subordinate 
with  his  own  zeal  and  vigor." 

Had  he  been  well,  this  ride  through  mud  and  rain  would 
not  have  distracted  his  thought.  As  it  was,  he  uttered  no 
word  of  complaint;  he  was  impatient  only  of  the  slow 
ness  of  the  passage. 

It  was  a  sinister  ride.  The  rain  slashed  over  the  land 
scape  drearily.  The  road  was  full  of  deep  pitfalls  of  mud 
and  water,  and  to  the  general's  searching  eyes  every  rod 
was  filled  with  indications  of  the  sore  straits  of  the  army. 
It  was  like  the  way  to  some  strange,  cruel,  desolate  hell, 
for  all  along  it  lay  the  gaunt  and  horrible  carcasses  of  ani 
mals  killed  by  overwork  and  starvation.  Mere  racks  of 
bones,  they  had  staggered  faithfully  on  till  life  fled,  and 
then  had  been  tumbled  off  the  road  to  rot.  If  the  artil 
lery-horses  were  as  poor  and  weak,  cannon  could  not  be 
moved.  It  is  no  marvel  that  the  general  said :  "  If  a  re 
treat  had  occurred  at  that  time,  it  is  not  probable  that 
any  of  the  army  would  have  reached  the  railroad  as  an 
organized  body,  if  followed  by  the  enemy."  With  firm-set 
lips  he  rode  on,  his  body  racked  with  pain,  and  with  these 
gloomy  evidences  of  defeat  on  every  hand.  He  arrived  at 
Chattanooga  on  the  night  of  the  23d,  and  went  at  once  to 
General  Thomas's  headquarters. 

General  Thomas  received  him  formally  and  coldly,  but 
gave  him  a  seat  against  the  blazing  fire  in  the  wide  old 

242  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

fireplace.  There  was  little  said  on  either  side.  Thomas 
was  the  older  man,  but  the  subordinate  officer.  He 
shared  the  feeling  of  the  old  regulars  against  Grant.  He 
had  practically  refused  the  command  of  the  Army  of  the 
Cumberland  after  Rosecrans's  removal,  and  undoubtedly 
considered  himself  a  logical  candidate  for  the  position  of 
commander  in  the  West,  which,  indeed,  he  was.  He  was 
a  splendid  soldier,  an  honorable  gentleman,  and  a  man  of 
great  powers;  but  he  kept  a  sour  silence  while  his  lame, 
wet,  tired,  and  hungry  commander-in-chief  sat  dripping 
upon  his  hearthstone. 

Colonel  J.  H.  Wilson,  Grant's  inspector-general,  had 
started  with  him  from  Bridgeport,  but  had  taken  another 
road.  When  he  arrived  he  found  Grant  and  Thomas  sit 
ting  gloomily  by  the  fire,  neither  saying  a  word.  There 
was  a  puddle  of  water  where  Grant  sat,  and  he  looked 
thin  and  pale,  but  grim  and  reserved. 

fe  General  Thomas,"  said  Wilson,  "  can't  you  get  General 
Grant  some  dry  clothing?" 

The  old  general  started  up.  "  Why,  bless  me,  yes ; 
why,  of  course.  Willard,"  he  said  to  his  colored  man, 
"  send  for  some  dry  clothes  for  General  Grant."  He  then 
resumed  his  seat.  Grant  remained  perfectly  silent. 

Wilson  spoke  again :  "  General  Thomas,  General  Grant 
is  hungry.  Can't  we  have  something  to  eat?  " 

Again  the  old  general  started  up.  "  Why,  certainly ; 
of  course;  we  are  to  have  some  supper  presently." 

This  curious  discourtesy  on  the  part  of  General  Thomas 
was  not  lost  on  General  Grant,  though  he  said  nothing 
concerning  it,  either  then  or  afterward.  He  put  aside 
the  dry  clothing,  but  ate  the  food,  keeping  his  own 

The  next  morning  he  was  astir  to  study  the  situation. 
He  found  the  enemy  in  fortified  positions  on  every  height 
to  the  east,  south,  and  southwest.  They  not  only  occu 
pied  Missionary  Ridge  and  Lookout  Mountain,  but  a  hill 
called  Orchard  Knob,  which  rose  out  of  the  valley  scarcely 
out  of  gunshot  of  the  town.  Practically  the  Army  of  the 
Cumberland  was  besieged.  In  company  with  General 
Thomas  and  his  own  staff,  Grant  passed  down  the  river  t«< 


the  southwest,  in  order  to  understand  the  plans  which 
General  Thomas's  engineers  had  originated  but  had  not 
executed.  In  a  short  time  the  commander-in-chief  was  in 
possession  of  all  the  facts  in  the  case,  and  ready  to  set  his 
subordinates  at  work. 

The  army  felt  his  presence  instantly.  He  had  no  hesi 
tations.  Rightly  or  wrongly,  he  went  to  work.  Things 
began  to  move,  as  they  always  did  when  he  came  near. 
He  found  excellent  plans  for  the  relief  of  the  army 
sketched  out  by  Thomas  and  Rosecrans.  He  gave  due 
credit  for  the  plans,  and  proceeded  to  execute  them,  won 
dering  why  plans  so  good  had  not  been  carried  out  before. 
He  ordered  all  animals  that  could  be  spared  to  be  driven 
back  to  forage.  He  started  a  division  of  troops  to  seize 
Rankin's  Ferry,  to  enable  General  Hooker  to  "  possess  a 
road  to  Mountain  Creek  which  gave  water  communication 
to  within  a  few  miles  of  Chattanooga." 

He  sent  a  message  in  all  haste  to  Sherman,  whom  he 
had  made  the  commander  of  the  Department  of  the  Ten 
nessee,  and  who  was  at  Corinth :  "  Drop  everything  east 
of  Bear  Creek,  and  move  with  your  entire  force  toward 
Stevenson  until  you  receive  further  orders."  He  gave 
commands  for  transportation  to  enable  Hooker  to  concen 
trate  his  forces  at  Bridgeport,  and  three  days  after  his 
arrival  he  wrote  to  Halleck : 

I  arrived  here  on  the  night  of  the  23d,  after  a  ride  on  horse 
back  of  fifty  miles  from  Bridgeport  over  the  worst  roads  it  is  pos 
sible  to  conceive  of,  and  through  a  continuous  drenching  rain. 
It  is  now  clear,  and  so  long  as  it  continues  so  it  is  barely  possi 
ble  to  supply  this  army  from  its  present  base ;  but  when  winter 
rains  set  in  it  will  be  impossible.  To  guard  against  the  possible 
contingency  of  having  to  abandon  Chattanooga  for  want  of  sup 
plies,  every  precaution  is  being  taken.  The  fortifications  are 
being  pushed  to  completion,  and,  when  done,  a  large  part  of  the 
troops  could  be  removed  back  near  to  their  supplies.  The  troops 
at  Bridgeport  are  engaged  on  the  railroad  to  Jasper,  and  can 
finish  it  in  about  two  weeks.  .  .  .  General  Thomas  had  also  set 
on  foot,  before  my  arrival,  a  plan  for  getting  possession  of  the 
river  from  a  point  below  Lookout  Mountain.  If  successful,  and 
I  think  it  will  be,  the  question  of  supplies  will  be  fully  settled. 

244  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

Sherman,  in  Corinth,  dropped  everything,  according  to 
order,  and  began  to  move  across  country,  working  night 
and  day  on  bridges,  making  all  possible  haste  to  join  his 
chief.  He  knew  great  deeds  were  impending.  Where 
Grant  went,  things  moved.  The  troops  around  Chatta 
nooga  also  changed  their  attitude  from  dogged  endurance 
to  an  expectant  and  tense  activity.  They  had  with  them 
the  man  who  had  captured  Vicksburg,  and  while  many  of 
the  officers  and  some  of  the  men  still  carried  the  feeling  of 
jealousy  born  at  Shiloh,  the  great  body  of  the  army  wel 
comed  his  command.  He  came  and  went  swiftly,  silently, 
and  with  the  air  of  a  civilian  on  a  tour  of  inspection.  He 
seemed  entirely  unconscious  that  any  one  was  looking  at 
him,  and  apparently  did  not  expect  or  welcome  applaud 
ing  cheers. 

He  had  established  his  headquarters  "  in  a  pleasant 
dwelling  on  a  little  bluff  overlooking  the  river  and  the 
main  street.  For  ten  days  he  lived  on  hardtack,  coffee, 
desiccated  vegetables,  and  salt  meat."  Not  a  very  attrac 
tive  diet  for  a  sick  man !  But  he  could  not  complain  when 
his  soldiers  were  parching  corn  purloined  from  the  rations 
of  mules.  But  this  condition  did  not  last.  Under  his 
resolute  action,  the  river  was  reclaimed  from  the  enemy, 
and  the  "  cracker  line "  was  once  more  open.  It  had 
taken  him  less  than  ten  days.  The  army  cheered  and 
chuckled  with  delight.  The  feeling  of  resentment  against 
him  as  an  interloper  lingered  only  among  the  more  bitterly 
partizan  of  the  officers.  It  could  not  be  denied  but  that 
the  situation  was  changing  under  his  active  influence. 

His  activity  was  unceasing.  He  had  an  eye  to  transporta 
tion,  to  horseshoes  for  cavalry,  and  to  forage  for  the  mules. 
He  gave  suggestions  concerning  casemating  gunboats,  and 
for  forwarding  saddles,  rations,  steamers,  and  locomotives. 
He  personally  supervised  the  fortifications,  and  wrote 
most  of  his  orders  with  his  own  hand.  At  one  o'clock  at 
night  a  colonel,  working  in  the  light  of  covered  fires  to  lay 
a  pontoon-bridge,  heard  the  patter  of  a  swift  horse's  feet, 
and  a  man  rode  up,  asked  a  few  questions,  and  rode  away, 
giving  no  hint  of  his  rank ;  but  the  colonel  saw  his  face  as 
he  passed  through  a  ray  of  light  from  a  blanketed  fire:  it 


was  General  Grant.  Signal-officers,  spies,  deserters,  were 
carefully  interrogated,  and  the  army  was  held  ready  for 
action  at  any  moment. 

In  ten  days  after  the  cracker  line  was  opened  the  men 
were  strong,  the  horses  were  nearly  able  to  move  the 
artillery,  and  the  general  was  waiting  for  Sherman  before 
beginning  his  aggressive  campaign.  Sherman's  men  were 
performing  prodigious  things  in  way  of  bridge-building 
and  road-making;  but  the  rivers  were  all  swollen,  and  the 
highways  bottomless  in  mud.  They  pushed  on,  working 
night  and  day. 

General  Grant  had  not  only  Chattanooga  to  look  after : 
he  commanded  two  hundred  thousand  men  over  a  thou 
sand  miles  of  territory.  Burnside  was  in  Knoxville,  and 
in  sore  distress.  He,  too,  was  beleaguered  by  the  enemy, 
and  in  need  of  supplies.  Having  opened  up  full  com 
munications  for  Thomas's  Army,  Grant  was  ready  "  to 
force  the  enemy  back  from  his  position,  and  make  Burn- 
side  secure  in  his  command."  He  was  ready  to  attack  the 
northern  end  of  Missionary  Ridge  on  the  7th,  but  Thomas 
reported  the  movement  impossible  by  reason  of  the  weak 
ness  and  small  number  of  his  teams.  Artillery  could  not 
be  moved. 

Grant  wired  Burnside :  "Can  you  hold  the  line  for 
seven  days  ?  If  so,  I  think  the  whole  Tennessee  Valley 
can  be  secured  from  all  present  danger."  He  was  longing 
for  Sherman,  with  his  well-fed  teams  and  his  hardy  and 
veteran  troops. 

At  last,  on  the  2Oth,  Sherman,  in  advance  of  his  troops, 
grizzled,  gaunt,  keen-eyed,  and  martial,  met  his  chief;  and 
in  the  clasp  of  their  hands  the  Confederate  army  had  cause 
to  fear.  Sherman,  Thomas,  Sheridan,  and  Grant  were 
there,  and  such  leadership  predicted  great  movements. 

Sherman,  writing  a  friendly  letter  to  McPherson  on  that 
day,  says : 

I  have  been  up  to  Chattanooga,  and  have  seen  the  enemy's 
camps  all  around  in  confident  security.  We  must  disturb  that 
seeming  tranquillity,  and  the  sooner  the  better.  Grant  can  ride 
now,  and  looks  cheerful. 

246  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

In  a  letter  to  Stanton,  General  David  Hunter  describes 
Grant  at  this  time : 

I  was  received  by  General  Grant  with  the  greatest  kindness. 
He  gave  me  his  bed,  shared  with  me  his  room,  gave  me  to  ride 
his  favorite  horse,  read  to  me  his  despatches  received  and  sent, 
accompanied  me  on  my  reviews,  and  I  accompanied  him  on  all 
his  excursions.  In  fact,  I  saw  him  almost  every  moment  of  the 
three  weeks  I  spent  in  Chattanooga. 

He  is  a  hard  worker,  writes  his  own  despatches  and  orders, 
and  does  his  own  thinking.  He  is  modest,  quiet,  never  swears, 
and  seldom  drinks,  as  he  only  took  two  drinks  while  I  was  with 
him.  He  listens  quietly  to  the  opinions  of  others,  and  then 
judges  promptly  for  himself,  and  he  is  very  prompt  to  avail  him 
self  in  the  field  of  all  the  errors  of  the  enemy.  He  is  certainly  a 
good  judge  of  men,  and  has  called  round  him  valuable  com 
manders.  Prominent  as  General  Grant  now  is  before  the  coun 
try,  these  remarks  of  mine  may  appear  trite  and  uncalled  for; 
but  having  been  ordered  to  inspect  his  command,  I  thought  it 
not  improper  to  add  my  testimony  with  regard  to  the  commander. 
I  will  also  add  that  I  am  fully  convinced  the  change  of  com 
manders  was  not  made  an  hour  too  soon,  and  that  if  it  had  not 
been  made  just  when  it  was,  we  should  have  been  driven  from 
the  valley  of  the  Tennessee,  if  not  from  the  whole  State. 

The  "  fixed  and  immovable  condition  of  the  Army  of 
the  Cumberland,"  which  had  so  worried  and  impeded 
General  Grant,  now  began  to  change.  Sherman's  horses 
were  sent  to  move  artillery  for  Thomas,  whose  teams  were 
still  hardly  able  to  carry  themselves.  General  Bragg,  the 
Confederate  chief,  on  the  2Oth  sent  a  flag  of  truce  into  the 
Union  lines,  with  a  warning  to  all  non-combatants  to  forth 
with  flee.  Grant  smiled  at  this  bluff.  He  was  quite  pre 
pared  to  consider  the  best  that  he  could  give.  Against 
the  strenuous  opposition  of  General  Longstreet,  Bragg  had 
weakened  his  lines  opposite  Grant  in  order  to  crush  and 
capture  Burnside.  Longstreet  was  detailed  to  do  this 
work.  Grant  suspected  this,  and  on  the  22d  of  Novem 
ber,  Sherman's  troops  being  nearly  in  position,  he  issued 
his  orders  for  a  series  of  related  and  harmonious  move 
ments  which  involved  the  armies  of  Sherman,  Hooker,  and 


Sherman  was  to  cross  the  Tennessee  River  opposite  the 
northern  end  of  Missionary  Ridge,  and  to  threaten  or  hold 
the  railway  in  Bragg's  rear.  Hooker  was  to  move  on  the 
enemy's  left  from  Lookout  Valley  to  Chattanooga  Valley, 
and  push  hard  against  the  enemy's  left,  and,  if  possible, 
also  threaten  him  in  the  rear.  Thomas,  with  the  Army 
of  the  Cumberland,  all  being  ready,  was  ordered  to  attack 
the  enemy's  center.  News  had  been  received  that  Burn- 
side  was  attacked  by  Longstreet,  and  "  the  President  and 
Secretary  of  War  and  General  Halleck  were  all  in  an 
agony  of  suspense."  Grant's  suspense  was  also  great; 
but  his  share  in  the  preparations  of  the  battle  helped  him 
to  be  patient.  He  determined  to  advance  his  center  and 
secure  more  of  the  valley  in  which  to  deploy  his  troops. 

On  the  morning  of  the  23d,  through  General  Thomas, 
he  ordered  General  Gordon  Granger  to  "  throw  one  divi 
sion  of  the  Fourth  Corps  forward  to  disclose  the  position 
of  the  enemy."  The  preparations  began.  The  troops  were 
disposed  and  aligned,  and  at  half-past  eleven  of  a  clear 
day,  in  full  sight  of  the  enemy,  at  sound  of  the  bugle,  the 
Third  Division  moved  out  in  magnificent  alignment,  exact 
of  formation,  and  in  serried  columns.  Around  on  the 
hills  lay  a  hostile  army,  and  a  host  of  comrades  in  blue  for 
spectators,  while  behind  on  a  low  mound  stood  the  man 
whose  quiet  words  directed  these  momentous  movements. 
Every  soldier  felt  the  eyes  of  the  commander-in-chief 
upon  him.  Not  a  man  fell  out  of  line.  The  men  in  blue 
stepped  proudly,  with  elastic  tread,  as  though  moving  to 
a  feast,  and  under  the  inscrutable  mask  of  General  Grant's 
face  there  must  have  been  a  thrill  of  deep  emotion. 

Orchard  Knob  was  the  citadel  of  the  enemy's  line  in- 
trenchments.  Straight  toward  that,  with  feathery  puffing 
rows  of  white  smoke  running  up  and  down  the  lines,  the 
Union  soldiers  moved,  majestic,  unbroken  of  order,  then 
broke  at  the  Knob,  and  with  a  wild  rush  scaled  and  car 
ried  it.  The  trenches  were  soon  won,  and  Orchard  Knob 
became  the  next  point  of  observation  for  General  Grant. 

Meanwhile  General  Hooker  was  advancing  on  the  right, 
and  Sherman  on  the  left.  All  day  on  the  24th,  hid  in  the 
scarf  of  fog  which  hung  over  Lookout  Mountain,  Hooker's 

248  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

troops  manoeuvered.  All  eyes  were  turned  to  watch  the 
issue.  General  Grant,  with  General  Thomas,  occupied 
Orchard  Knob.  They  could  not  see  Hooker's  forces  in 
action,  and  the  sound  of  his  guns  palpitated  through  the 
misty  air.  Every  soldier  in  the  army  now  waited  tense 
and  eager  to  know  what  the  "old  commander's"  next 
orders  were  to  be.  All  was  quiet  along  the  center. 

Night  and  the  fog  closed  down  on  Lookout  Mountain. 
The  guns  ceased,  and  then  the  whole  mountain-front  began 
to  sparkle  with  camp-fires  as  the  mists  lifted.  Line  upon 
line  of  twinkling  red  flames  showed  the  advancing  ranks 
of  the  loyal  troops,  and  Hooker  reported  his  position 
secure.  Then  Grant  telegraphed  to  Washington  the  good 
news.  Sherman  was  in  line;  Hooker  would  be  on  the 
morrow.  With  a  vast  relief  the  commander  now  over 
looked  his  battle-line  from  Orchard  Knob.  He  was  ready 
for  the  last  act  of  his  eventful  drama. 

When  the  light  came  next  morning,  and  the  Union  flag 
was  seen  waving  from  the  summit  of  Mount  Lookout,  a 
mighty  cheer  roared  along  the  lines.  To  have  carried  that 
formidable  height  seemed  more  than  prophecy  of  suc 
cess.  Yet  Grant  gave  it  but  a  glance.  It  was  only  a  pre 
paratory  movement  successfully  carried  out.  It  had  but 
subordinate  value  in  itself.  He  turned  his  face  toward 
Sherman,  whom  he  had  ordered  into  action  at  daylight. 
Long  lines  of  the  enemy  could  be  seen  moving  toward  the 
northern  end  of  the  ridge  to  meet  Sherman ;  and  the  chief 
was  anxiously  watching  for  Hooker's  advance. 

Early  in  the  day  Orchard  Knob  was  again  covered  with 
spectators  of  high  rank ;  General  Thomas  and  his  staff 
were  there,  and  General  Grant,  commander  of  the  Division 
of  the  Mississippi,  was  there ;  and  all  the  morning  the 
coming  and  going  of  aides  set  long  lines  of  troops  in 
motion.  Everywhere  preparations  for  some  great  de 
nouement  were  going  forward.  Every  eye  and  every  ear 
was  now  turned  toward  Sherman,  whose  faintly  booming 
cannon  informed  the  chief  that  battle  was  raging  almost 
uninterruptedly.  The  whole  mighty  theater  of  war  was 
open  to  view  from  Orchard  Knob.  Grant  and  Thomas 
were  like  spectators  in  a  private  box,  and  across  the  pro- 


scenium-arch  Bragg  and  his  staff  could  be  seen,  interested 
spectators  also,  and  full  of  activity. 

Column  after  column  of  Bragg's  army  left  the  center 
and  concentrated  against  Sherman,  as  Grant  had  planned. 
All  was  now  ready  for  the  advance  of  the  center;  but 
Hooker  had  not  yet  appeared  against  the  ridge  at  the 
right,  and  Thomas  was  waiting  his  appearance.  Sher 
man,  fighting  desperately,  wondered  why  things  were  at  a 
standstill  to  the  south  ;  but  he  knew  Grant  would  take  care 
of  him,  and  so  he  fought  on  most  resolutely. 

Grant  turned  to  General  Thomas  and  in  his  quiet  way 
made  suggestion :  "  Hooker  has  not  come  up,  but  I  think 
you  had  better  move,  on  Sherman's  account"  He  in 
tended  this  to  have  the  force  of  a  command. 

Thomas  apparently  acquiesced,  but  nearly  an  hour 
passed,  Grant  expecting  each  moment  to  see  the  move 
ment  of  the  troops.  Since  morning  the  divisions  of  Gen 
erals  Sheridan  and  Wood  had  been  in  line,  tense  and 
eager  to  advance.  The  thunder  of  Sherman's  guns  grew 
more  ominously  furious,  and  at  last  General  Grant  said : 
"  Why  are  not  our  men  moving?  "  In  looking  about,  he 
saw  General  Wood,  who  was  to  lead  one  of  the  assaulting 
divisions,  talking  with  General  Thomas.  "  General  Wood, 
why  are  you  not  moving?"  asked  the  chief,  with  some 

"  I  have  received  no  orders." 

The  chief  turned  sharply  to  Thomas. 

"  General  Thomas,  why  have  not  my  orders  been  carried 

"  I  gave  them  to  Granger  an  hour  ago,"  said  Thomas. 

"Where  is  he?" 

General  Granger  was  at  work  superintending  the  firing 
of  a  battery,  and  had  apparently  forgotten  that  he  had 
anything  else  to  do. 

Grant  summoned  him,  and  said :  "  General  Granger,  if 
you  will  leave  that  battery  to  its  captain,  and  attend  to 
your  duties,  it  will  be  better  for  all  of  us." 

This  vigorous  personal  direction  on  the  part  of  the 
commander-in-chief  was  needed;  he  should  have  disci 
plined  the  officers  before. 

250  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

Suddenly  a  cannon-shot  broke  from  Orchard  Knob; 
then  two,  three,  four,  five,  six,  in  measured  intervals. 
Then  from  their  trenches  rose  the  eager,  waiting  soldiers, 
regiment  after  regiment,  three  lines  deep  and  two  miles 
long ;  and  as  they  rose  their  ranked  bayonets  flamed  back 
the  light.  Bugles  called  faintly ;  imperative  voices  came 
driving  to  the  ears  of  the  spectators;  forth-shooting  horse 
men  floated  like  shadows  down  the  declivity  and  out 
toward  the  plain;  and  before  the  sixth  cannon-shot  had 
echoed  its  way  to  silence  among  the  hills,  that  enormous 
and  splendid  array  of  men  began  to  move.  Bands  were 
playing,  bright  flags  fluttering,  and  as  they  marched  these 
blue  automatons  cheered  with  heroic  insolence.  Not  once 
in  a  thousand  years  may  human  eyes  look  upon  such  a 
scene.  The  hour  of  the  day,  the  singular  condition  of  the 
battle,  the  configuration  of  the  ground,  made  the  scene 
forever  memorable.  It  was  like  some  prodigious  and 
prodigal  review  organized  to  please  a  jaded  and  idle 

Across  the  flat  valley  the  line  swept,  curving  slightly 
here  and  there,  but  unbroken;  and  before  it  a  line  of 
minute  white  puffing  clouds  of  smoke  told  of  the  begin 
ning  of  the  battle.  The  enemy,  leaning  insolently  on  his 
musket,  had  discovered  that  the  review  was  a  charge. 

The  artillery  of  the  ridge  broke  forth  in  irregular  clamor ; 
cannons  by  the  score  uttered  their  terrible  voices,  and  the 
air  was  filled  with  the  whistling,  hustling,  howling  shells. 
Instantly  Orchard  Knob  was  deserted.  Every  man 
seemed  to  sink  into  the  ground.  The  chief,  seated  on  a 
stool,  was  calmly  looking  over  the  low  log  parapet.  The 
rifle-pits  at  the  base  of  the  ridge  whitened  with  musketry 
fire,  and  still  the  blue  lines  swept  on,  their  pace  almost 
unbroken,  their  flags  fluttering  in  a  curving  line. 

Then  from  their  shelter  the  gray-coats  swarmed  in  im 
mense  numbers,  and  irregularly  receded  to  the  next  line 
of  defenses.  There  for  a  moment  the  blue  line  broke 
and  wavered  in  confusion.  Orders  conflicted.  Horsemen 
galloped  along  the  line.  Then  suddenly  the  blue-coats 
began  to  move  forward  again,  but  no  longer  in  order  of 
rank.  They  formed  now  in  accordance  with  nature's  law; 


the  strong  and  the  swift  came  together  with  the  colors,  and 
shot  ahead,  as  points  of  roam  outrun  across  the  sand  the 
deep  breakers  behind.  At  the  extreme  point  of  each  pro- 
jecting  wave  of  blue  a  flag  glittered  like  a  spark  of  flame. 
Occasionally  it  halted  for  a  moment.  That  meant  death 
to  the  color-bearer;  but  another  hand  seized  it,  and  the 
mounting  wave  outran  its  fellows  to  left  and  right;  and 
behind,  on  the  slope,  flecks  of  blue  showed  where  some 
nameless  hero  lay.  The  crest  of  the  hill  was  now  one 
continuous  bellowing  flame  of  cannon-shots  and  musketry, 
yet  the  blue  wave  mounted  as  if  flung  by  some  mysteri 
ous  enginery. 

Down  on  the  crest  of  Orchard  Knob,  tense  and  white 
with  excitement,  the  staff- officers  clustered  around  Grant 
and  Thomas.  Grant's  face  was  impassive,  but  his  blood 
was  thrilling  with  the  conflict.  He  looked  to  the  left,  and 
there  was  Sherman,  fighting  for  his  life.  He  looked  to 
the  right,  and  Hooker  was  advancing.  At  his  front  his 
soldiers  were  carrying  all  before  them,  sweeping  upon  the 
very  tents  where  the  general-in-chief  of  the  hostile  army 
stood.  At  last,  as  the  second  line  of  intrenchment  was 
carried,  Grant's  blood  grew  hot,  and  he  said :  "  Bring  my 
horse;  I  'm  going  up  there."  He  turned  to  look  for 
Thomas,  and  he  was  gone!  He  had  mounted  his  horse, 
and  was  jogging  back  to  Chattanooga  to  dinner. 

Once  in  the  saddle,  Grant's  fixed  calm,  his  seeming 
stolidity,  vanished.  He  was  transformed  by  the  motion  of 
the  horse.  Down  from  the  height  and  across  the  plain  he 
rushed,  followed  by  his  staff,  eager  to  set  his  horse's  feet 
on  the  ground  so  long  occupied  by  a  confident  foe.  As 
he  rode  he  saw  the  ragged  but  unwavering  wave  of  blue 
sweep  over  the  last  range  of  rifle-pits,  and  as  he  reached 
the  hillside  he  saw  the  advance  columns  break  over  the 
dread  crest  and  silence  the  guns;  and  when  his  panting 
horse  brought  him  to  the  summit,  he  saw  the  enemy  in 
wild  flight.  Sheridan,  though  unhorsed,  was  mounted  on 
a  cannon,  ordering  a  pursuit,  and  the  guns  of  the  summit 
were  being  turned  upon  the  fleeing  foe.  Missionary 
Ridge  belonged  to  the  Union,  and  the  honor  of  retaking 
it  belonged  to  the  private  soldiers  and  to  Grant. 

252  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

As  he  rode  along  the  lines  he  was  recognized,  and 
husky  cheers  from  almost  breathless  soldiers  arose.  They 
clung  to  his  stirrups,  and  would  not  let  him  escape. 
"Now  we  know  we  have  a  general!"  they  cried.  His 
pursuit  did  not  cease  till  darkness  fell. 

That  night  the  Assistant  Secretary  of  War  sent  this 
message  to  Washington :  "  Glory  to  God !  The  day  is 
decisively  ours.  Our  men  are  frantic  with  joy  and  en 
thusiasm,  and  received  Grant,  as  he  rode  along  the  lines 
after  the  victory,  with  tumultuous  shouts."  The  rank  and 
file  of  the  Cumberland  Army  were  his  to  command. 

The  next  day  was  Thanksgiving  day,  and  all  over  the 
nation  grateful  millions  of  people  blessed  the  name  of 
Grant,  the  prop-hauler  of  the  Gravois,  who  had  taken  his 
place  among  the  great  captains  of  the  world. 



JUST  as  Grant's  success  at  Vicksburg  had  brought 
him  to  the  command  of  the  armies  in  the  West,  so 
his  superb  campaign  at  Chattanooga  led  to  the  thought 
that  he  was  the  one  man  in  America  to  command  in  the 
East.  Rightly  or  wrongly,  the  feeling  grew  that  the 
leaders  of  movements  in  the  East  were  insufficient. 
Grant  was  the  man.  Make  him  commander-in-chief  in 
place  of  Halleck. 

Halleck  professed  entire  willingness  to  be  deposed  in 
Grant's  favor.  He  said :  "  I  took  it  against  my  will,  and 
shall  be  most  happy  to  leave  it  as  soon  as  another  is  des 
ignated  to  fill  it.  ...  We  have  no  time  to  quibble  and 
contend  for  pride  of  personal  opinion.  On  this  subject 
there  appears  to  be  a  better  feeling  among  the  officers  of 
the  West  than  here." 

In  general  the  demand  was  that  Grant  should  lead  the 
Army  of  the  Potomac  against  Lee ;  but  a  larger  scheme 
was  on  foot.  Washburne  introduced  into  Congress  a  bill 
reviving  the  grade  of  lieutenant-general,  which  had  died 
with  Washington,  though  General  Scott  had  borne  it  by 
brevet.  To  the  ebullient  patriots  of  the  lower  house 
nothing  was  now  too  good  for  General  Grant,  and  the  bill 
was  received  with  applause.  There  was  no  concealment 
of  their  wishes.  They  recommended  Grant  by  name  for 
the  honor. 

Washburne  took  much  pride  in  his  early  advocacy  of 
Grant,  and  called  on  his  colleagues  to  witness  whether  his 


254  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

protege  had  not  more  than  fulfilled  all  prophecies.  "  He 
has  fought  more  battles  and  won  more  victories  than  any 
man  living.  He  has  captured  more  prisoners  and  taken 
more  guns  than  any  general  of  modern  times."  The  bill 
passed  the  lower  house  by  a  vote  of  ninety-six  to  fifty- 
two,  and  the  Senate  with  but  six  dissenting  votes.  In  the 
Senate,  however,  the  recommendation  of  Grant  was 
stricken  out,  although  it  was  suggested  that  the  President 
might  appoint  some  one  else  to  the  new  rank  instead  of 

But  the  President  was  impatient  to  put  Grant  into  the 
high  place.  He  had  himself  had  to  plan  battles  and  ad 
judicate  between  rival  commanders,  in  addition  to  his 
Presidential  duties,  until  he  was  worn  out.  With  a  pro 
found  sigh  of  relief,  he  signed  the  bill,  and  nominated 
General  Grant  to  be  the  lieutenant-general  of  the  armies 
of  the  United  States. 

Grant  was  at  Nashville  when  an  order  came  from  the 
Secretary  of  War  directing  him  to  report  in  person  to  the 
War  Department.  His  first  thought  seems  to  have  been  of 
Sherman,  and  his  next  of  McPherson.  On  March  4,  1864, 
in  a  private  letter,  he  wrote : 

DEAR  SHERMAN  :  The  bill  reviving  the  grade  of  lieutenant- 
general  in  the  army  has  become  a  law,  and  my  name  has  been 
sent  to  the  Senate  for  the  place.  I  now  receive  orders  to  report 
to  Washington  in  person,  which  indicates  either  a  confirmation 
or  a  likelihood  of  confirmation.  I  start  in  the  morning  to  com 
ply  with  the  order ;  but  I  shall  say  very  distinctly,  on  my  arrival 
there,  that  I  accept  no  appointment  which  will  require  me  to 
make  that  city  my  headquarters.  This,  however,  is  not  what  I 
started  to  write  about. 

Whilst  I  have  been  eminently  successful  in  this  war  in  at  least 
gaining  the  confidence  of  the  public,  no  one  feels  more  than  I 
how  much  of  this  success  is  due  to  the  skill  and  energy,  and  the 
harmonious  putting  forth  of  that  energy  and  skill,  of  those  whom 
it  has  been  my  good  fortune  to  have  occupying  a  subordinate 
position  under  me. 

There  are  many  officers  to  whom  these  remarks  are  applicable 
to  a  greater  or  less  degree,  proportionate  to  their  ability  as  sol 
diers  ;  but  what  I  want  is  to  express  my  thanks  to  you  and 
McPherson  as  the  men  to  whom,  above  all  others,  I  feel  indebted 


for  whatever  I  have  had  of  success.  How  far  your  advice  and 
suggestions  have  been  of  service,  you  know.  How  far  your  exe 
cution  of  whatever  has  been  given  you  to  do  entitles  you  to  the 
reward  I  am  receiving,  you  cannot  know  as  well  as  I.  I  feel 
all  the  gratitude  this  letter  can  express,  giving  it  the  most  flatter 
ing  construction. 

The  word  "  you  "  I  use  in  the  plural,  intending  it  for  McPher- 
son  also.  I  should  write  him,  and  will  some  day ;  but,  starting 
in  the  morning,  I  do  not  know  that  I  will  find  time  now. 

To  this  modest,  manly,  and  deeply  grateful  letter  Sher 
man  replied  in  kind.  The  friendship  between  these  three 
men  was  of  the  most  noble  and  unselfish  character,  difficult 
to  parallel.  Sherman  said : 

DEAR  GENERAL  :  You  do  yourself  injustice  and  us  too  much 
honor  in  assigning  to  us  too  large  a  share  of  the  merits  which 
have  led  to  your  high  advancements.  .  .  .  You  are  Washington's 
legitimate  successor,  and  occupy  a  place  of  almost  dangerous 
elevation ;  but  if  you  can  continue,  as  heretofore,  to  be  yourself, 
simple,  honest,  and  unpretending,  you  will  enjoy  through  life  the 
respect  and  love  of  friends,  and  the  homage  of  millions  of  human 
beings,  that  will  award  you  a  large  share  in  securing  them  and 
their  descendants  a  government  of  law  and  stability.  ... 

Until  you  had  won  Donelson  I  confess  I  was  almost  cowed 
by  the  terrible  array  of  anarchical  elements  that  presented  them 
selves  at  every  point ;  but  that  admitted  the  ray  of  light  which  I 
have  followed  ever  since. 

I  believe  you  are  as  brave,  patriotic,  and  just  as  the  great  pro 
totype  Washington,  as  unselfish,  kind-hearted,  and  honest  as  a 
man  should  be ;  but  the  chief  characteristic  is  the  simple  faith  in 
success  you  have  always  manifested,  which  I  can  liken  to  no 
thing  else  than  the  faith  a  Christian  has  in  a  Saviour.  This  faith 
gave  you  victory  at  Shiloh  and  Vicksburg.  Also,  when  you 
have  completed  your  last  preparations,  you  go  into  battle  without 
hesitation,  as  at  Chattanooga  ;  no  doubts,  no  reserves;  and  I  tell 
you  it  was  this  that  made  us  act  with  confidence.  I  knew,  wher 
ever  I  was,  that  you  thought  of  me,  and  if  I  got  in  a  tight  place 
you  would  come,  if  alive. 

Now  as  to  the  future.  Don't  stay  in  Washington.  Halleck 
is  better  qualified  than  you  to  stand  the  buffets  of  intrigue  and 
policy.  Come  West.  Take  to  yourself  the  whole  Mississippi 
Valley.  .  .  .  Here  lies  the  seat  of  coming  empire,  and  from  the 

256  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

West,  when  our  tasks  are  done,  we  will  make  short  work  of 
Charleston  and  Richmond  and  the  impoverished  coast  of  the 

With  some  such  feeling  in  his  own  heart  General  Grant 
went  to  Washington  to  report  to  the  War  Department  and 
to  see  Lincoln,  whom  up  to  this  time  he  had  never  met. 
Of  intrigue  and  jealousy,  he  was  aware,  the  Western  army 
had  enough,  but  he  knew  they  were  weak  and  mild  com 
pared  to  the  division  and  bitterness  at  the  East.  He  had 
no  fear  of  Lee, — he  was  eager  to  meet  him, — but  he  feared 
the  politicians,  the  schemes,  the  influences  of  the  capital. 
He  went  with  the  intention  of  returning  to  Chattanooga 
at  once  and  making  it  his  headquarters. 

On  the  way  to  Washington,  he  went  carefully  over  the 
situation  once  more.  He  had  observed  from  the  first 
the  lack  of  harmony  in  the  movements  of  the  armies  of 
the  North.  They  operated  without  system,  without  unity. 
The  failure  to  cooperate  had  led  to  disaster  at  Shiloh, 
whereas  the  harmony  of  movement  led  to  final  victory  at 
Vicksburg.  The  lack  of  prompt  and  harmonious  coopera 
tion  had  led  to  the  beleaguerment  of  Burnside  at  Knox- 
ville  and  of  Thomas  at  Chickamauga,  while  concerted  action 
had  snatched  victory  out  of  defeat  at  Chattanooga. 

Carrying  these  facts  in  his  mind,  Grant  determined  to 
demand  of  President  Lincoln  the  assurance  that  the  War 
Department  should  cease  to  command  in  the  field.  The 
War  Department  was  an  administrative  office.  The  Sec 
retary  of  War  was  a  civilian,  not  a  soldier,  a  political  ap 
pointment,  and  not  a  military  chieftain.  In  time  of  war 
he  should  not  have  power  to  interfere  with  campaigns  at 
the  front.  This  was  so  obvious  that  its  mere  statement 
should  have  carried  conviction,  but  it  did  not.  Nominally, 
Stanton,  under  the  President,  ranked  every  officer  in  the 
field,  which  was  absurd. 

General  Grant  made  up  his  mind  to  say  to  Lincoln :  "  I 
will  accept  the  command  of  the  armies  of  the  United  States 
provided  I  can  be  free  from  the  interference  of  the  War 
Department;  otherwise  I  shall  be  obliged  to  decline  the 

He  arrived  in  Washington  late  in  the  afternoon,  and 


went  at  once  to  a  hotel.  As  he  modestly  asked  for  a 
room,  the  clerk  loftily  said :  "  I  have  nothing  but  a  room 
on  the  top  floor." 

•'Very  well;  that  will  do,"  said  Grant,  registering  his 

The  clerk  gave  one  glance  at  the  name,  and  nearly 
leaped  over  the  desk  in  his  eagerness  to  place  the  best 
rooms  in  the  house  at  Grant's  disposal. 

As  Grant  entered  the  dining-room,  some  one  said: 
"Who  is  that  major-general?"  His  shoulder-straps  had 
betrayed  him. 

The  inquiry  spread  till  some  one  recognized  him. 
"Why,  that  is  Lieutenant-General  Grant." 

A  cry  arose:  "Grant!  Grant!  Grant!"  The  guests 
sprang  to  their  feet,  wild  with  excitement.  "  Where  is 
he?"  "Which  is  he?" 

Some  one  proposed  three  cheers  for  Grant,  and  when 
they  were  given,  Grant  was  forced  to  rise  and  bow,  and 
then  the  crowd  began  to  surge  toward  him.  He  was 
unable  to  finish  his  dinner,  and  fled. 

Accompanied  by  Senator  Cameron  of  Pennsylvania,  he 
went  to  the  White  House  to  report  to  the  President. 
Doubtless  he  would  not  have  gone  had  he  known  that  the 
President  was  holding  a  reception,  for  he  was  in  his  every 
day  uniform,  which  was  considerably  worn  and  faded. 
The  word  had  passed  swiftly  that  Grant  was  in  town,  and 
that  he  would  call  upon  the  President ;  therefore  the  crowd 
was  denser  than  usual.  They  did  not  recognize  him  at 
first ;  but  as  the  news  spread,  a  curious  murmur  arose,  and 
those  who  stood  beside  the  President  heard  it  and  turned 
toward  the  door.  As  Grant  entered  a  hush  fell  over  the 
room.  The  crowd  moved  back,  and  left  the  two  chief 
men  of  all  the  nation  facing  each  other. 

Lincoln  took  Grant's  small  hand  heartily  in  his  big  clasp, 
and  said :  "  I  'm  glad  to  see  you,  general." 

It  was  an  impressive  meeting.  There  stood  the 
supreme  Executive  of  the  nation  and  the  chief  of  its 
armies— the  one  tall,  gaunt,  almost  formless,  with  wrin 
kled,  warty  face,  and  deep,  sorrowful  eyes;  the  other 
compact,  of  good  size,  but  looking  small  beside  the  tall 

258  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

President,  his  demeanor  modest,  almost  timid,  but  in  the 
broad,  square  head  and  in  the  close-clipped  lips  showing 
decision,  resolution,  and  unconquerable  bravery.  In  some 
fateful  way  these  two  men,  both  born  in  humble  condi 
tions,  far  from  the  esthetic,  the  superfine,  the  scholarly, 
now  stood  together — the  rail-splitter  and  the  prop-hauler. 
In  their  hands  was  more  power  for  good  than  any  kings 
on  earth  possessed.  They  came  of  the  West,  but  they 
stood  for  the  whole  nation,  and  for  the  Union,  and  for  the 
rights  of  man.  The  striking  together  of  their  hands  in  a 
compact  to  put  down  rebellion  and  free  the  blacks  was 
perceived  to  be  one  of  the  supremest  moments  of  our 

For  only  an  instant  they  stood  there.  Grant  passed  on 
into  the  East  Room,  where  the  crowd  flung  itself  upon 
him.  He  was  cheered  wildly,  and  the  room  was  jammed 
with  people  crazy  to  touch  his  hands.  He  was  forced  to 
stand  on  a  sofa  and  show  himself.  He  blushed  like  a  girl. 
The  hand-shaking  brought  streams  of  perspiration  from  his 
forehead  and  over  his  face.  The  hot  room  and  the  crowd 
and  the  excitement  swelled  every  vein  in  his  brow,  till  he 
looked  more  like  a  soldier  fighting  for  his  life  than  a  hero 
in  a  drawing-room.  There  was  something  delightfully 
diffident  and  fresh  and  unspoiled  about  him,  and  words  of 
surprise  gave  way  to  phrases  of  affection.  He  was  seen 
to  be  the  plain  man  his  friends  claimed  him  to  be — home 
spun,  unaffected,  sincere,  and  resolute. 

He  was  relieved  at  last  by  the  approach  of  a  messenger 
to  call  him  to  Mrs.  Lincoln's  side.  With  her  he  made  a 
tour  of  the  room,  followed  by  the  President  with  a  lady 
on  his  arm,  Lincoln's  rugged  face  beaming  with  amused 
interest  in  his  new  general-in-chief.  This  ended  Grant's 
sufferings  for  the  moment.  The  President,  upon  reaching 
comparative  privacy,  said : 

"  I  am  to  formally  present  you  with  your  commission 
to-morrow  morning  at  ten  o'clock.  I  know,  general,  your 
dread  of  speaking,  so  I  shall  read  what  I  have  to  say.  It 
will  only  be  four  or  five  sentences.  I  would  like  you  to 
say  something  in  reply  which  will  soften  the  feeling  of  jeal 
ousy  among  the  officers,  and  encourage  the  nation." 


At  last  the  general  escaped  from  the  close  air  of  the 
room,  and  as  he  felt  the  cool  wind  on  his  face  outside  the 
White  House,  he  wiped  the  sweat  from  his  brow,  drew  a 
long  breath  of  relief,  and  said :  "  I  hope  that  ends  the 
show  business." 

There  were  solemnity  and  a  marked  formality  in  the 
presentation  of  the  commission.  In  the  presence  of  his 
cabinet,  the  President  rose  and  stood  facing  General 
Grant,  beside  whom  was  his  little  son  and  the  members  of 
his  staff.  From  a  slip  of  paper  the  President  read  these 
words : 

"  GENERAL  GRANT  :  The  nation's  appreciation  of  what 
you  have  done,  and  its  reliance  upon  you  for  what  remains 
to  be  done,  in  the  existing  great  struggle,  are  now  pre 
sented  with  this  commission  constituting  you  lieutenant- 
general  in  the  army  of  the  United  States.  With  this  high 
honor  devolves  upon  you,  also,  a  corresponding  responsi 
bility.  As  the  country  herein  trusts  you,  so,  under  God, 
it  will  sustain  you.  I  scarcely  need  to  add  that  with  what 
I  here  speak  goes  my  own  hearty  concurrence." 

General  Grant's  reply  was  equally  simple,  but  his  hands 
shook,  and  he  found  some  difficulty  in  controlling  his 

"  MR.  PRESIDENT  :  I  accept  the  commission  with 
gratitude  for  the  high  honor  conferred.  With  the  aid  of 
the  noble  armies  that  have  fought  in  so  many  fields  for 
our  common  country,  it  will  be  my  earnest  endeavor  not 
to  disappoint  your  expectations.  I  feel  the  full  weight  of 
the  responsibilities  now  devolving  upon  me,  and  I  know 
that  if  they  are  met  it  will  be  due  to  those  armies,  and, 
above  all,  to  the  favor  of  that  Providence  which  leads  both 
nations  and  men." 

The  two  men  again  shook  hands.  Lincoln  seemed  to 
be  profoundly  pleased  with  Grant.  He  found  in  him  one 
of  his  own  people,  suited  to  his  own  conception  of  an 
American  citizen,  a  man  of  the  "  plain  people,"  whom, 
he  said,  God  must  have  loved,  he  made  so  many  of  them. 
He  liked  Grant's  modesty,  and  was  too  shrewd  to  call  it 
weakness.  He  had  tried  handsome  and  dashing  generals, 
and  big  and  learned  generals,  and  cautious  and  strategic 


generals,  and  generals  who  filled  a  uniform  without  a 
wrinkle,  and  who  glittered  and  gleamed  on  the  parade, 
and  had  voices  like  golden  bugles,  and  who  could  walk  the 
polished  floor  of  a  ball-room  with  the  grace  of  a  dancing- 
master,  and  generals  bearded  and  circumspect  and  severe. 
Now  he  was  to  try  a  man  who  despised  show,  who  never 
drew  his  saber  or  raised  his  voice  or  danced  attendance 
upon  women ;  a  shy,  simple-minded,  reticent  man,  who 
fought  battles  with  one  sole  purpose,  to  put  down  the 
Rebellion  and  restore  peace  to  the  nation ;  a  man  who 
executed  orders  swiftly,  surely,  and  expected  the  like 
obedience  in  others;  a  man  who  hated  politics  and  de 
spised  trickery. 

A  heavy  rain  was  falling  the  second  day  of  Grant's  stay 
in  Washington,  but  he  did  not  allow  it  to  interfere  with 
his  work.  All  day  he  rode  about,  visiting  the  fortifica 
tions.  That  night  he  dined  with  Secretary  Seward,  de 
lighting  everybody  by  his  simple  directness  of  manner. 
He  said  little,  but  every  word  counted.  The  city  was 
mad  to  see  him.  All  day  crowds  surged  to  and  fro  in  the 
hope  of  catching  a  momentary  glimpse  of  him.  A  thou 
sand  invitations  to  dine  were  waiting  him.  But  he  kept 
under  cover,  and  the  next  day  he  started  for  the  head 
quarters  of  the  Army  of  the  Potomac.  He  spent  one  day 
in  swift,  absorbed  study  of  the  situation.  The  day  after, 
he  returned  to  Washington,  and  started  for  Nashville  to 
arrange  his  affairs  there  so  that  he  could  return  East.  He 
had  found  so  many  rivalries  and  jealousies  among  the  offi 
cers  that  it  became  necessary  to  take  command  of  the 
Army  of  the  Potomac  in  person,  or,  at  least,  to  make  his 
headquarters  in  the  field  with  it.  He  told  the  President 
that  nine  days  would  enable  him  to  put  his  Western  com 
mand  in  shape  to  leave  it. 

This  undeviating  and  unhesitating  action  was  a  reve 
lation  of  power  to  the  East.  The  New  York  "  Trib 
une  "  said :  "  He  hardly  slept  on  his  long  journey  East, 
yet  he  went  to  work  at  once.  Senators  state  with  joy 
that  he  is  not  going  to  hire  a  house  in  Washington,  and 
make  war  ridiculous  by  attempting  to  manceuver  battles 
from  an  arm-chair  in  Washington."  His  refusal  to  dine 


and  to  lend  himself  to  any  "  show  business  "  was  com 
mented  on  with  equal  joy.  The  citizens  of  Washington 
could  scarcely  believe  he  had  visited  the  city  at  all.  The 
New  York  "  Herald  "  said :  "  We  have  found  our  hero." 

He  returned  to  Nashville  to  make  the  necessary  changes 
of  command.  His  own  command  there  Sherman  was  to 
take,  while  McPherson  moved  into  Sherman's  place. 

These  men  Grant  felt  that  he  could  trust  absolutely, 
and  though  disappointed  rivals  complained  severely,  it 
made  no  difference. 

Sherman  came  up  from  Memphis  to  meet  him  at  Nash 
ville.  To  him  Grant  detailed  as  much  of  his  plan  as  to 
any  living  man.  One  who  saw  the  memorable  meeting 
between  them  (General  Badeau)  has  given  the  following 
vivid  and  powerful  analysis  of  the  two  men.  So  impor 
tant  to  the  nation  had  they  become,  no  one  but  Lincoln 
himself  overtopped  them  in  public  interest. 

"  The  contrast  between  them  was  striking.  Sherman 
was  tall,  angular,  and  spare,  as  if  his  superabundant  energy 
had  consumed  his  flesh ;  sandy-haired,  sharp-featured,  his 
nose  prominent,  his  lips  thin,  his  gray  eyes  flashing,  his 
whole  face  mobile  as  an  actor's,  his  speech  quick,  decided, 
loud.  His  words  were  distinct,  his  ideas  clear  and  rapid, 
coming,  indeed,  almost  too  fast  for  utterance,  but  in  dra 
matic,  brilliant  form,  so  that  they  got  full  development, 
while  an  eager  gesticulation  illustrated  and  enforced  his 
thought.  No  one  could  be  with  him  half  an  hour  and 
doubt  his  greatness." 

"  Grant  was  smaller,  but  stouter  in  form,  younger  in  looks 
and  years,  calmer  in  manner  a  hundredfold.  His  hair  and 
beard  were  brown,  and  both  heavier  than  Sherman's ;  his 
features  marked,  but  not  prominent;  while  his  eye,  clear, 
but  not  piercing  nor  penetrating,  seemed  formed  rather  to 
resist  than  aid  the  interpretation  of  his  thought,  and  never 
betrayed  that  it  was  sounding  the  depths  of  another  nature 
than  his  own ;  a  heavy  jaw ;  a  sharply  cut  mouth,  which 
had  a  singular  power  of  expressing  sweetness  and  strength 
combined,  and  which  at  times  became  set  with  a  rigidity 
like  that  of  fate  itself ;  a  broad,  square  brow  which  at  first 
struck  no  one  as  imposing — these  made  up  a  physiog- 

262  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

nomy  that  artists  always  liked  to  model.  The  habitual 
expression  of  his  face  was  so  quiet  as  to  be  almost  incom 
prehensible  ;  strong,  but  its  strength  concealed  by  the 
manner  of  wearing  hair  and  beard.  His  figure  was  com 
pact  and  of  medium  height,  but,  though  well-made,  he 
stooped  slightly  in  the  shoulders.  His  manner,  plain, 
placid,  almost  meek,  in  great  moments  disclosed  to  those 
who  knew  him  well  immense,  but  still  suppressed,  inten 
sity.  In  utterance  he  was  slow  and  sometimes  embar 
rassed,  but  the  words  were  well-chosen,  never  leaving  the 
remotest  doubt  of  what  he  intended  to  convey,  and  now 
and  then  fluent  and  forcible,  when  the  speaker  became 
aroused.  The  whole  man  was  a  marvel  of  simplicity,  a 
powerful  nature  veiled  in  the  plainest  possible  exterior, 
imposing  on  all  but  the  acutest  judges  of  character,  or  the 
constant  companions  of  his  unguarded  hours. 

"  Not  a  sign  about  him  suggested  rank  or  reputation  or 
power.  He  discussed  the  most  ordinary  themes  with  ap 
parent  interest,  and  turned  from  them  in  the  same  quiet 
tones,  and  without  a  shade  of  difference  in  his  manner,  to 
decisions  that  involved  the  fate  of  armies,  his  own  fame, 
or  the  life  of  the  republic — sending  forty  thousand  men 
on  a  new  campaign  or  hearing  of  his  own  elevation  to  a 
power  and  position  unsurpassed  by  that  of  any  general  in 
history  with  the  same  equanimity  and  apparently  the  same 
indifference  with  which  he  listened  to  the  trifles  of  the 
hour  or  the  rumors  of  the  camp ;  but  uttering  at  the  most 
unexpected  intervals,  and  in  the  most  casual  way,  the 
clearest  ideas  in  the  tersest  form ;  announcing  judgments, 
made  apparently  at  the  moment,  which  he  never  reversed, 
and  which  the  world  has  never  seen  reason  to  reverse ; 
enunciating  opinions  or  declaring  plans  of  the  most  impor 
tant  character  in  the  plainest  words  and  commonest  man 
ner,  as  if  great  things  and  small  were  to  him  of  equal 
moment,  as  if  it  cost  him  no  more  to  command  armies 
than  to  direct  a  farm,  to  capture  cities  than  to  drive  a 

"  In  battle,  however,  the  sphinx  awoke ;  the  riddle  was 
solved.  The  outward  calm,  indeed,  was  even  then  not 
entirely  broken ;  but  the  utterance  was  prompt,  the  ideas 


were  rapid,  the  judgment  was  decisive,  the  words  were 
those  of  command.  The  whole  man  became  intense,  as  it 
were,  with  a  white  heat.  His  nature,  indeed,  seemed  like 
a  sword,  drawn  only  in  the  field  or  in  emergencies.  At 
ordinary  times  a  scabbard  concealed  the  sharpness  and 
temper  of  the  blade ;  but  when  this  was  thrown  aside,  amid 
the  smoke  and  din  of  battle,  the  weapon  flashed  and  thrust 
and  smote  and — won. 

"  These  two,  so  different,  had  been  together  in  evil  re 
port  and  good  report,  in  disaster  and  in  victory,  in  battles 
and  sieges  and  campaigns ;  and  neither  had  ever  failed  the 

They  now  struck  hands  in  a  great  final  campaign,  Sher 
man  to  start  for  the  very  heart  of  the  Confederacy,  Grant 
to  return  to  the  Potomac  to  confront  and  master  Lee. 
There  was  to  be  no  more  backing  and  plunging  of  armies 
like  a  balky  team.  For  good  or  ill,  they  were  to  move 
under  the  direction  of  one  man,  and  that  man  subject  only 
to  Abraham  Lincoln,  the  President. 

Promptly  at  the  end  of  his  nine  days  Grant  was  back  in 

On  the  day  of  his  return  he  held  his  first  interview  with 
Lincoln  alone.  Lincoln  said,  in  his  half-humorous  fashion  : 
"  I  have  never  professed  to  be  a  military  man,  nor  to  know 
how  campaigns  should  be  conducted,  and  never  wanted 
to  interfere  in  them.  But  procrastination  on  the  part  of 
generals,  and  the  pressure  of  the  people  at  the  North  and 
of  Congress,  which  is  always  with  me,  have  forced  me  into 
issuing  a  series  of  military  orders.  I  don't  know  but  they 
were  all  wrong,  and  I  'm  pretty  certain  some  of  them 
were.  All  I  wanted,  or  ever  wanted,  is  some  one  to  take 
the  responsibility  and  act — and  call  on  me  for  all  assistance 
needed.  I  pledge  myself  to  use  all  the  power  of  govern 
ment  in  rendering  such  assistance."  That  was  the  sub 
stance  of  the  interview,  Grant  replying  simply :  "  I  will 
do  the  best  I  can,  Mr.  President,  with  the  means  at 

Lincoln  said  later,  in  reply  to  a  question  :  "  I  don't  know 
General  Grant's  plans,  and  I  don't  want  to  know  them. 
Thank  God,  I  've  got  a  general  at  last!  " 

264  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

Grant  went  straight  to  headquarters  at  Culpeper,  and 
the  papers  quoted  with  glee  his  words :  "  There  will  be  no 
grand  review,  and  no  show  business."  The  army  was 
utterly  strange  to  him.  The  men  did  not  know  him  when 
they  saw  him.  Many  of  the  officers  were  McClellan-wor- 
shipers,  and  some  of  them  secretly  sneered  at  the  Western 
man,  who  had  in  some  mysterious  way  reached  a  dizzy 
height,  from  which  they  expected  to  see  him  fall  resound 
ingly.  "  He  has  Lee  to  meet,"  they  said. 

General  George  G.  Meade,  who  held  the  chief  command 
in  the  army,  was  a  man  of  most  irascible  temperament, 
but  a  patriot  and  a  good  soldier.  He  immediately  said  to 
General  Grant:  "General,  the  work  before  us  is  of  too 
vast  importance  to  allow  the  wishes  or  feelings  of  one 
person  to  stand  in  the  way  of  selecting  the  right  men  for 
the  right  positions.  If  you  would  rather  have  General 
Sherman  take  my  place,  don't  hesitate  to  say  so.  I  will 
serve  to  the  best  of  my  ability  in  whatever  position  you 
place  me." 

To  this  manly  word  Grant  replied :  "  I  have  no  thought 
of  putting  any  one  in  your  place,  general.  Sherman  can 
not  be  spared  from  the  West." 

Now  began  mighty  preparations.  All  things  were  to 
move  together — Sherman  on  Johnston's  army,  Banks  up 
Red  River,  Butler  and  Gillmore  against  Richmond  from 
the  south  side  of  the  James  River,  while  Grant  in  person 
operated  with  Meade  against  Lee's  army.  "Where  Lee's 
army  goes,  there  you  will  go  also,"  he  said  to  Meade. 

Sherman's  orders  were  to  get  as  far  into  the  interior  of 
the  Confederacy  as  possible.  "  I  want  to  be  ready  to 
move  by  the  25th  of  April,  if  possible." 

Sherman  exultantly  replied :  "  That  we  are  now  to  act 
on  a  common  plan,  converging  to  a  common  center,  looks 
like  civilized  warfare."  To  Halleck  he  wrote:  "I  believe 
this  grand  army  a  unit  now  in  action.  General  Grant  has 
a  mammoth  load  to  carry.  He  wants  some  one  here  who 
will  fulfil  his  plans,  whole  and  entire,  and  at  the  time  ap 
pointed,  and  he  believes  I  will  do  it.  I  hope  he  is  not 
mistaken.  With  Thomas  as  my  center,  McPherson  as  my 
right,  and  Schofield  on  the  left,  I  will  have  an  army  that 


will  do  anything  within  the  range  of  human  possibility.     I 
will  be  ready  when  Grant  is;  then  stand  from  under!" 

General  Grant  now  commanded  more  men  than  any 
captain  that  ever  lived.  His  battle-line  was  more  than  a 
thousand  miles  in  length.  It  ran  across  the  Alleghanies 
to  Knoxville,  to  Chattanooga,  to  Huntsville,  to  Memphis, 
thence  down  the  Mississippi  to  Vicksburg,  and  over  to  the 
Red  River.  The  Southern  armies  held  part  of  Texas  and 
Louisiana,  part  of  Mississippi,  Alabama,  Georgia,  the 
Carolinas,  and  a  large  part  of  Virginia.  Guerrilla  bands 
were  continually  raiding  the  country  already  held  by  the 
Northern  troops. 

Grant  had  all  these  threads  in  his  hands  when  he  came 
to  the  East.  He  had  fought  his  way  through  this  terri 
tory.  He  knew  Columbus  and  Henry  and  Donelson  and 
Vicksburg  and  Grenada  and  Jackson.  He  knew  the  diffi 
culties,  the  resources  of  the  country.  He  knew  every 
commander,  and  the  number  of  troops  necessary  to  every 
part,  not  from  theory,  but  because  he  had  been  there. 
His  knowledge  was  so  exhaustive  that  when,  on  the  last 
days  of  April,  he  began  to  order  his  whole  gigantic  army 
into  the  field,  he  did  it  as  easily  as  he  commanded  the 
lines  of  Chattanooga.  He  knew  his  men ;  when  he  said 
to  McPherson  or  Sherman,  "  Do  this,"  or  "  Do  that," 
the  details  could  safely  be  left  to  them.  Yet  he  was 
commander,  and  no  one  who  knew  him  at  that  time 
doubted  it. 

He  deposed  officers,  and  put  men  he  knew  in  their 
places.  He  wanted  men  of  action.  He  should  have  dis 
charged  others  at  the  start.  He  directed  the  movement 
of  supplies  and  of  ammunition.  His  power  and  decision 
ran  through  the  army  like  an  electrical  current.  Every 
where  activity  set  in ;  lines  were  reformed ;  stragglers 
became  soldiers;  veterans  on  furlough  were  recalled. 
There  was  all  too  little  time  to  get  this  army  in  hand. 

There  was  an  ominous  hush  in  the  air  as  these  secret 
orders  went  flashing  over  the  wire.  The  leaders  of  the 
Confederacy  made  no  mistake.  They  knew  a  different 
man  had  come  to  deal  with  them — a  man  whose  lips  gave 
out  no  indiscreet  word.  They  could  not  divine  his  plan, 

266  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

but  they  assumed  it  would  be  a  general  attack.  They 
well  knew  that  a  mighty  struggle  was  impending. 

During  this  time,  while  in  preparation  for  the  spring  cam 
paign,  General  Grant's  headquarters  were  visited  by  many 
correspondents.  One  from  abroad,  who  had  access  to  the 
inner  military  circles,  said  of  him :  "  Grant  is  not  intoxi 
cated  with  flattery,  as  was  McClellan ;  I  never  met  with  a 
man  of  so  much  simplicity,  shyness,  and  decision.  He  has 
lost  nothing  of  his  freshness  of  mind.  He  avoids  Wash 
ington  and  its  corrupting  allurements.  He  is  essentially  a 
soldier  of  the  camp  and  field.  All  his  predecessors  were 
ruined  by  Washington  influences.  He  has  established  his 
headquarters  ten  miles  nearer  the  enemy  than  Meade. 
His  tents  are  almost  among  the  soldiers.  That  is  a  West 
ern,  and  not  a  Potomac,  army  custom.  He  travels  with 
the  simplicity  of  a  second  lieutenant,  with  a  small  trunk, 
which  he  often  forgets  and  goes  off  without.  If  Grant 
fails,  then  a  curse  is  on  this  army.  He  is  a  soldier  to  the 
core,  a  genuine  commoner,  commander  of  a  democratic 
army  from  a  democratic  people.  All  this  is  very  different 
from  McClellan.  From  what  I  learn  of  him,  he  is  no  more 
afraid  to  take  the  responsibility  of  a  million  men  than  of 
a  single  company." 

The  South  divined,  too,  in  a  vague  way,  that  Grant  stood 
for  the  plain  people  of  the  North,  and  not  its  politicians. 
Their  editors  gave  warning:  "  Grant  is  a  determined  man, 
and  has  a  tremendous  force  under  his  hand,  and  we  may 
rest  assured  that  when  he  is  beaten,  it  will  be  only  when 
the  last  capacity  for  fight  has  been  taken  out  of  him  and 
his  army.  Until  this  is  done,  our  generals,  army,  and 
government  should  brace  every  nerve,  stretch  every  sinew, 
force  nature,  and  yield  nothing  to  fatigue." 

Lee  understood  this.  Almost  as  silent  as  Grant,  sad, 
resolute,  and  lonely  in  the  midst  of  his  army,  he  pondered 
on  the  coming  of  this  new  antagonist.  He,  too,  began 
preparations.  Orders  went  out  through  all  the  South  to 
sweep  the  country  clean  of  men  of  fighting  age;  all  be 
tween  seventeen  and  fifty  must  carry  arms.  He  hurried 
detachments  to  the  rear  to  seize  and  impress  all  stragglers, 
deserters,  and  conscripts.  Swiftly,  determinedly,  the  whole 


South  concentrated  before  the  terrible  Sherman  and  the 
enigmatical  Grant. 

There  were  not  wanting  voices  of  entreaty  opposing 
this  last  desperate  stand  of  the  Southern  soldier  against 
the  illimitable  and  inexorable  North.  But  they  were  of 
no  avail.  The  leaders  of  the  South  were  not  yet  ready  to 
cease  from  the  shedding  of  blood.  They  began  to  de 
spair,  but  they  would  not  yield.  Preparations  went  on. 
Each  day  saw  these  prodigious  armies  increasing  in  power 
and  intensifying  in  determination.  Parks  of  artillery 
shifted  ground,  and  the  rumble  of  their  movements  was 
like  the  sound  of  coming  tempests.  Foraging-parties 
swept  over  the  land,  leaving  every  farm-house  bare  of 
food,  and  every  farm-yard  silent  of  its  cattle.  The  rattle 
of  long  trains  of  wagons,  the  braying  of  mules,  the  lowing 
of  cattle,  seemed  to  prophesy  some  all-enveloping  ap 
proaching  cataclysm.  Every  portent  of  horror,  every 
foreboding  and  dread  of  the  barbarism  of  war,  received 
new  emphasis,  new  terror. 

At  last  the  day  came  when  the  minute,  indistinguishable 
atom  of  blue  among  these  swarms  of  other  similar  human 
beings — this  man  from  whom  a  million  of  his  fellow-men 
were  to  take  their  motion — was  ready  to  lift  his  hand. 
With  calm  face,  with  unshaken  nerve,  he  took  a  final 
survey  of  the  field  of  war.  He  touched  swords  with 
Sherman,  and  found  him  ready.  To  some  men  the  re 
sponsibility  would  have  been  too  great,  paralyzing  the 
will ;  but  Grant's  eyes  were  never  clearer,  his  voice  was 
never  calmer,  than  when  he  said  :  "  All  is  ready.  Strike 
tents!  By  the  left  flank,  forward,  march!" 



IT  was  in  the  early  days  of  May,  when  the  South  was 
filled  with  fragrance  of  blooming  plants  and  trees. 
The  air  was  soft  and  sensuous,  and  all  nature  was  rebuild 
ing,  healing,  renewing,  and  the  heart  of  man  should  have 
been  turned  to  the  planting  of  seeds  in  the  earth  and  the 
driving  forth  of  cattle  to  pasture.  It  was  the  month  of 
youth  and  love.  But  in  the  midst  of  this  gentle,  amiable 
hour  of  nature's  renaissance,  Grant's  armed  and  serried 
soldiers  moved  upon  the  foe.  When  the  citizens  of  Cul- 
peper  woke  in  the  morning  on  the  4th  of  May,  they  were 
amazed  to  find  the  Northern  army  gone.  It  was  cross 
ing  the  Rapidan  River.  Grant  had  begun  his  campaign 
against  Lee.  The  whole  nation  now  waited  the  onset. 

His  aim  was  to  flank  Lee,  and  fight  him  between  Cul- 
peper  and  Richmond,  if  he  would  stand.  Lee  was  ready 
to  fight.  The  two  greatest  warriors  of  the  North  and 
South  were  now  set  face  to  face.  Grant  had  the  larger 
army,  but  Lee  had  the  inside  lines,  which  was  an  enormous 
advantage.  He  knew  the  country,  too,  and  could  choose 
his  own  ground  for  attack.  He  selected  the  moment,  and 
struck  the  Northern  army  just  as  it  was  crossing  a  fire- 
scarred,  desolate,  and  almost  impenetrable  jungle  called 
the  "  Wilderness."  It  was  a  land  filled  with  thickets  for 
ambuscades,  surprises,  bewilderments. 

The  Southern  leader  chose  a  most  favorable  moment  for 
attack,  but  he  found,  not  a  "loose  mass  of  men,"  but  a 
wall  of  soldiery.  His  intention  was  to  smash  Grant's  army 
in  detail,  and  send  it  back  across  the  Rapidan.  He  sent 



his  whole  army  against  Grant,  and  by  midday  on  the  5th 
of  May  both  armies  were  engaged  in  a  death-grapple. 
For  miles  the  sound  of  guns,  blended  with  thunderous 
commands,  made  the  place  a  hell  which  the  hovering  bat 
tle-smoke  made  the  more  appalling.  Every  thicket  con 
cealed  assailants ;  every  ridge  sustained  cannon  of  enor 
mous  size  and  fury. 

But  Grant  could  not  be  stampeded.  When  the  battle 
was  at  its  worst  "  he  sat  smoking  a  wooden  pipe.  His 
face  seemed  as  peaceful  as  a  summer  evening.  His  gen 
eral  demeanor  was  of  indescribable  imperturbability." 
Aides  came  and  went  with  excited  messages.  He  heard 
them  through,  turned  to  Meade,  made  suggestions  in  a 
low  voice,  and  returned  to  his  pipe  and  his  whittling. 
There  was  nothing  to  indicate  his  great  rank;  scarcely 
could  he  have  been  distinguished  as  an  officer  by  one  who 
was  a  stranger  to  his  ways  and  his  person.  He  was 
anxious,  terribly  anxious,  but  his  wonderful  self-control, 
and  the  strange  mask  of  his  face,  concealed  his  emotion. 
Occasionally,  when  something  demanded  his  personal 
direction,  he  mounted  his  horse,  and  darted  away  swiftly 
to  the  front.  He  had  no  fear;  he  was,  on  the  contrary, 
criminally  reckless  of  his  life. 

Once  an  excited  orderly  rushed  up  to  the  whittling 
general,  and  cried  out: 

"  They  have  broken  through !    Hancock  has  given  way ! " 

"  I  don't  believe  it,"  said  Grant,  in  laconic  and  emphatic 
reply,  chipping  away  at  the  root  of  the  tree  against  which 
he  sat.  He  knew  Hancock,  and  believed  in  him.  Then, 
perceiving  the  aide's  condition,  he  said  kindly :  "  You  are 
fatigued  and  nervous;  go  in  and  lie  down  for  a  while." 

The  night  came,  and  laid  a  hush  on  the  battle,  which 
was  unfinished.  Lee  had  failed  to  break  the  Union  line, 
and  now  the  men  wondered  what  Grant  would  do. 

He  ordered  an  attack  at  half-past  four  in  the  morning. 
It  was  his  intention  to  fire  the  first  gun ;  but  the  uncon 
querable  Lee  also  determined  to  show  his  confidence. 
The  two  armies  began  the  appalling  duel  simultaneously, 
and  all  day,  in  the  spicy  jungle,  under  a  burning  sun,  the 
two  armies  charged  each  other,  desperate,  parched  with 

270  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

thirst,  stained  with  smoke,  staggering  to  and  fro  with  the 
faces  of  demons  or  of  men  walking  in  frenzy.  Now  one 
section  in  blue  made  a  sounding  rush,  carrying  the  gray 
lines  away,  and  then  the  gray-coats  massed  and  came 
back,  yelling  with  demoniacal  battle-madness.  The  sky 
grew  thick  with  smoke,  which  obscured  the  light  of  the 
sun  but  seemed  to  intensify  the  heat. 

Grant,  sitting  at  Meade's  headquarters,  as  before,  lis 
tened  with  the  ear  of  an  expert,  yet  appeared  not  to  hear. 
His  cigar  went  out  after  a  time,  and  he  chewed  at  it  slowly, 
a  sign  of  intense  intellectual  activity  and  anxiety  with  him. 
His  eyes  were  cast  down  as  if  in  thought.  It  was  only  as 
some  orderly  or  aide  rode  up  in  hot  haste  that  he  looked 
up  to  read  the  import  of  the  message  in  the  face  of  the 

"  No  movement  of  the  enemy  seemed  to  puzzle  or  dis 
concert  him.  Fertile  in  resources,  the  petition  for  rein 
forcement  was  speedily  answered."  His  whittling  was 
strange  to  see.  He  made  no  start,  did  not  rise  to  his  feet, 
when  above  the  roar  of  the  cannon  the  terrifying,  appalling 
battle-cry  of  the  charging  Southerners  rose,  uttered  by  ten 
thousand  maddened  men.  He  listened,  or,  turning,  spoke 
a  low  word  to  some  member  of  his  staff. 

Wherever  he  went,  the  men  cheered,  and  fought  the 
harder.  It  gave  them  hope  to  know  the  eye  of  the  com 
mander  was  on  them.  Every  officer  who  came  into  his 
presence  felt  a  return  of  confidence,  and  lost  something  of 
any  depression  he  may  have  felt. 

Once  he  said  to  General  Wright :  "  Hello,  Wright.  I 
heard  you  'd  gone  to  Richmond," — in  allusion  to  a  report 
of  Wright's  repulse, — and  smiled  at  Wright's  sturdy  reply. 

That  night  the  sun  went  down  red  as  blood  ;  the  sky  was 
clouded  with  the  hell-smoke  of  two  hundred  thousand 
muskets,  and  the  woods  were  on  fire.  The  jungle  began 
to  burn  the  dying  and  the  dead  it  had  tortured  with  thirst. 

Near  midnight  a  correspondent  sat  at  a  camp-fire,  un 
able  to  sleep,  wondering  sadly  if  he  had  followed  the  vic 
torious  Western  chief  to  the  Army  of  the  Potomac  only 
to  chronicle  his  ruin.  Looking  up,  he  saw  Grant  sitting 
on  the  other  side  of  the  fire,  his  hat  slouching  so  low  and 


the  collar  of  his  blue  overcoat  standing  so  high  that  most 
of  his  face  was  hidden.  He,  too,  was  buried  in  thought. 
Through  the  long,  trying  day  his  serenity  had  appeared 
unshaken ;  but  now  that  he  was  alone,  nervous  shiftings  of 
one  leg  over  the  other,  and  worn,  haggard  looks,  showed 
how  deeply  he  was  moved  by  the  dreadful  and  seemingly 
fruitless  shedding  of  blood. 

To  General  Wright  he  had  seemed  almost  careless  of 
the  break  in  the  lines ;  not  a  muscle  of  his  face  quivered. 
To  those  who  did  not  know  him  he  seemed  never  to  think 
of  the  dying  or  the  dead,  and  yet  suffering  drew  quick 
tears  from  his  eyes.  His  philosophy  sustained  him.  He 
was  cruel  only  to  be  kind.  Up  to  the  date  of  his  com 
mand,  more  than  one  hundred  and  thirty  thousand  men 
had  been  sacrificed  in  the  Eastern  armies,  to  little  result. 
The  war  must  end  soon.  It  was  costly;  the  North  was 
crying  out  against  the  sacrifice ;  and  it  lay  with  him  more 
than  with  any  other  man  to  determine  how  long  it  should 
continue.  He  was  haggard  and  worn  and  sorrowful,  but 
he  was  relentless.  It  was  better  for  a  thousand  men  to 
die  in  battle  than  for  ten  thousand  to  die  in  camp.  He 
went  to  bed  at  last,  determined  to  order  an  advance.  He 
had  determined  to  take  no  backward  steps. 

Early  the  next  morning,  the  third  day  in  the  Wilder 
ness,  the  enemy  being  quiet,  he  issued  orders  for  an  ad 
vance  from  the  right  to  the  left.  Hancock  was  to  remain 
where  he  was  till  Warren  passed  him,  thus  keeping  the 
line  always  reinforced  before  the  enemy. 

Lee  had  withdrawn  within  intrenchments.  Two  terri 
ble  days'  fighting  had  satisfied  his  men.  Their  hot  blood 
was  cooled.  But  within  the  Union  army  was  still  doubt. 
The  men  in  Warren's  corps  talked  all  day  about  it. 
"  We  're  whipped  again ;  now  we  're  going  back,"  they 
said.  Some  few  said  :  "  No  ;  we  will  have  more  fighting." 
The  day  wore  on,  and  at  dark  orders  ran  along  the  line : 
"Fall  in!  No  noise!" 

"What  does  this  mean?" 

"We  're  going  back  to  Culpeper." 

But  when  the  orders  came  to  march,  they  turned  to  the 
east.  A  note  of  keen  exultation  ran  along  the  line: 

2/2  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

"We  're  going  forward!  Grant  's  the  man!  No  more 

As  they  marched  they  came  upon  Hancock's  men, 
sleeping  where  they  had  halted,  in  long  lines,  like  dead 
men  prepared  for  burial.  As  they  heard  the  tramp  of 
feet,  the  rattle  of  canteens,  they  roused  up. 

"Who  are  you?" 

"  Warren's  corps." 

"  Good  God!  where  are  you  going?" 

Quickly,  exultantly,  came  the  reply :  "  On  to  Rich 

Then  wild  cheers  arose,  and  the  men  of  Warren's  corps 
marched  on,  singing,  as  they  marched,  this  refrain: 

"  Ulysses  leads  the  van! 
For  we  will  dare 
To  follow  where 
Ulysses  leads  the  van." 

"  Lee  no  longer  commands  both  these  armies,"  said 
some  of  the  soldiers.  "  The  Army  of  the  Potomac  no 
longer  takes  orders  from  him.  We  've  got  a  general  of 
our  own. 

"  Ulysses  leads  the  van ! 
For  we  will  dare 
To  follow  where 
Ulysses  leads  the  van." 

Ulysses  led  the  van.  At  about  nine  o'clock,  followed 
by  his  staff,  Grant  started  to  the  left.  "  He  led  the  way, 
dashing  along  by-roads  to  avoid  the  troops  and  wagon- 
trains.  He  galloped  along  in  the  darkness,  his  escort 
trailing  behind  ;  and  whenever  he  passed  a  body  of  troops, 
and  they  discovered  who  it  was  passing,  they  raised  such 
cheers  and  exultant  outcries  as  the  army  had  never  heard. 
No  commander  could  have  asked  more  heartfelt  confi 
dence.  "  The  general  rode  along  like  a  warrior  with  seri 
ous  business  in  hand.  There  was  no  smiling  and  bowing 
toward  the  troops.  He  was  gratified,  but  it  did  not  change 
him  from  his  intent  purpose."  At  twelve  o'clock  he 
reached  Todd's  Tavern,  wrapped  himself  in  his  blanket, 
and  slept  till  morning. 


All  night  long  his  army  moved,  the  right  wing  sliding 
by  the  center  and  right;  and  when  morning  dawned  a 
new  line  was  formed.  Grant  had  fought  his  way  out  of 
the  Wilderness.  Lee  had  done  his  worst.  He  had  failed 
to  break  the  line  or  check  the  advance. 

He  was  told  Grant  was  retreating.  "  You  are  mistaken," 
he  replied, — "quite  mistaken;  Grant  isn't  a  retreating 
man."  He  soon  learned  of  Grant's  movement,  and  the 
two  armies  met  in  terrific  battle  at  Spottsylvania  Court 
house,  and  against  the  mass  of  Grant's  line  Lee  drove  his 
army  again  and  again,  to  no  gain  and  to  great  loss. 
Grant  and  his  subordinates  remained  unshaken.  His  army 
now  had  absolutely  unwavering  faith  in  him,  and  was  in 
dauntless  courage. 

He  was  justified  in  saying :  "  The  results  of  the  three 
days'  fighting  are  in  our  favor."  "  I  shall  take  no  back 
ward  steps,"  he  wrote,  on  the  Qth ;  and  on  the  iith,  after 
a  week  of  relentless  fighting  and  steady  advance,  in  a 
communication  to  Halleck  he  added  a  companion  line  to 
his  Donelson  ultimatum :  "  I  propose  to  fight  it  out  on 
this  line,  if  it  takes  all  summer." 

The  whole  land  took  it  up  in  a  flame  of  enthusiasm.  It 
was  a  new  note  of  warfare.  In  its  grim  sententiousness 
was  the  promise  of  victory  and  peace  to  a  tortured  nation. 
It  made  Grant,  for  the  time,  something  superhuman.  It 
seemed  that  such  a  leader  could  not  be  conquered.  The 
whole  nation  prayed  that  fevers  and  the  elements  and  the 
missiles  of  the  enemy  might  spare  his  life.  Upon  his 
single  life  the  Union  now  seemed  staked.  The  mere 
thought  of  his  death  made  the  heart's  blood  of  patriots 
run  cold  with  horror. 

On  the  2  ist  of  May  he  began  again  that  peculiar, 
menacing  sidewise  crawl  of  his  army  toward  the  south, 
moving,  as  before,  from  right  to  left.  Lee  interposed 
again.  Having  the  inside  lines,  and  less  incumbered  by 
wagon-trains,  he  was  able  to  move  quicker.  He  was 
again  repulsed,  and  Grant's  inexorable  advance  was  again 

On  the  last  day  of  May,  Sheridan,  in  the  advance,  and 
almost  within  sight  of  Richmond,  met  Lee's  army  in  force. 

274  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

With  orders  from  his  chief  to  hold  the  crossing  at  Cold 
Harbor  Tavern  at  all  hazards,  Sheridan  dismounted  his 
men,  and  intrenched.  Against  his  lines,  thus  sheltered, 
the  enemy  could  not  advance.  In  the  morning  the  infan 
try  arrived,  and  the  two  armies  met  in  another  desperate 
battle.  Lee  was  fighting  for  Richmond  in  very  truth  now. 
The  smoke  of  her  chimneys  could  be  seen  in  the  Southern 
sky.  Grant  was  eager  to  close  the  campaign.  He  ordered 
a  general  assault,  which  failed.  He  took  a  day  to  bury 
the  dead  and  post  his  arriving  troops,  and  on  the  third 
day  ordered  another  assault.  This,  too,  failed,  for  lack  of 
personal  supervision  of  Meade's  orders  by  Grant,  and 
from  lack  of  energy  and  cooperation  among  commanders. 
The  loss  on  both  sides  was  very  great. 

Most  commanders  would  have  been  broken  by  these 
apparent  failures,  but  Grant  was  not  of  that  kind.  Once 
more  he  surprised  his  friends  and  bewildered  his  enemies 
by  an  unexpected  and  skilful  movement.  He  began  his 
flanking  movement  as  though  Cold  Harbor  had  never  been. 

Whatever  the  leaders  of  the  Confederacy  said  in  public, 
in  secret  they  were  appalled  at  these  tactics.  None  knew 
better  than  Lee  and  Hill  and  Beauregard  what  this  move 
ment  meant.  They  were  powerless  to  do  more  than 
check  it  or  turn  it  aside.  An  officer  writing  from  Lee's 
headquarters  expressed  the  general  feeling : 

It  is  admitted  that  Lee  has  at  last  met  a  foeman  who  matches 
his  steel,  although  he  may  not  be  worthy  of  it.  Each  guards 
himself  perfectly,  and  gives  his  blow  with  a  precise  eye  and  cool 
and  sanguinary  nerve.  .  .  .  From  first  to  last  Grant  has  shown  great 
skill  and  prudence,  combined  with  remorseless  persistence  and 
brutality.  He  is  a  scientific  Goth  resembling  Alaric,  destroying 
the  country  as  he  goes,  and  delivering  the  people  over  to  starva 
tion.  Nor  does  he  bury  his  dead,  but  leaves  them  to  rot  on  the 
battle-field.  He  has  commenced  again,  sliding  his  right  down 
past  his  left,  doubtless  in  order  to  reach  Bottom's  Bridge  and 
the  Long  Bridge,  with  the  intention  of  crossing  to  the  Richmond 
side.  ...  It  may  be,  and  probably  is,  Grant's  design  to  make 
across  the  James  River  to  seize  our  communications,  and  thus 
assure  the  destruction  of  our  supplies  and  compel  surrender  ulti 
mately  through  starvation. 


Grant  had  become  the  "  crafty  Ulysses "  to  the 
Southern  editors.  They  no  longer  talked  about  his  luck 
and  his  ignorance  of  strategy.  His  skill  in  handling  a 
large  army  was  now  acknowledged  by  Generals  Hill  and 

It  is  arrant  nonsense  for  Lee  to  say  Grant  can't  make  a  night 
march  without  his  knowing  it.  Has  he  not  slipped  around  him 
four  times  already?  Grant  can  get  twenty  thousand  men  to 
Westover,  and  Lee  know  nothing  about  it.  What  is  to  become 
of  Petersburg?  Its  loss  surely  involves  that  of  Richmond. 

In  this  letter  from  General  Hill  to  Beauregard  was  a 
soldierly  perception  of  Grant's  last  and  most  important 
flanking  movement.  On  the  night  of  the  I2th  of  June  the 
Union  troops  crossed  the  Chickahominy  River  and  started 
on  a  swift  march  to  the  left.  Grant  had  determined  to 
place  himself  south  of  Richmond,  seizing  Petersburg,  if 
possible,  and  moving  immediately  on  Richmond  and  Lee's 
army — a  most  daring  and  splendid  plan,  which  Lee  could 
scarcely  believe  possible.  It  was  like  Grant's  superb  au 
dacity  in  getting  south  of  Vicksburg.  For  two  days  Lee 
telegraphed  anxiously,  almost  distractedly,  to  Generals 
Hill,  Hampton,  and  Beauregard :  "  Where  is  Grant's 
army?"  "Find  Grant's  army."  He  was  entirely  at  a 
loss.  Grant  had  again  spirited  his  army  of  a  hundred 
thousand  men  out  of  the  Confederate  sight. 

The  chief's  plan  of  action  now  began  to  be  understood 
by  Lincoln.  "  I  begin  to  see  it,  God  bless  you!"  he  tele 

Grant's  continually  flanking  advance  had  at  last  brought 
him  within  striking  distance  of  the  Confederate  capital. 
He  was  now  ready  to  cooperate  with  Butler  and  attack 
Richmond  from  the  rear,  cutting  off  Lee's  southern  lines 
of  communication.  In  doing  this  he  left  Washington  un 
guarded  and  the  whole  North  apparently  open  to  the 
raids  of  the  Southern  cavalry.  But  he  intended  Lee  to 
have  good  use  for  every  horse  and  man  around  Rich 
mond,  so  that  for  the  Confederates  to  go  North  would 
not  merely  be  a  "  swap  of  capitals  " — it  would  be  the 
destruction  of  Lee's  army. 

276  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

On  June  14  he  despatched  to  Halleck:  "Our  forces 
will  commence  crossing  the  James  to-day.  The  enemy 
shows  no  signs  of  having  brought  troops  to  the  south  side 
of  Richmond.  I  will  have  Petersburg  secured,  if  possible, 
before  they  get  in  much  force." 

It  was  Grant's  design  to  end  the  campaign  right  there, 
and  the  leaders  of  the  Southern  army  were  more  than  half 
convinced  that  he  was  about  to  close  his  tremendous  and 
skilful  campaign  with  victory.  On  the  I5th  of  June  his 
advance,  under  General  W.  F.  Smith,  operating  under 
General  Butler,  who  commanded  at  Bermuda  Hundred, 
made  an  attack  on  Petersburg,  which  lies  about  twenty 
miles  below  Richmond.  The  first  assault  was  successful, 
but  was  not  vigorously  followed  up.  General  Smith, 
after  taking  the  outworks,  bivouacked,  waiting  for  Gen 
eral  Hancock  to  come  up.  Through  some  negligence, 
Hancock's  rations,  which  Grant  had  ordered  Butler  to 
forward,  did  not  reach  him  promptly,  and  he  waited  for 
them  several  invaluable  hours,  and  finally  started  without 
them.  He  did  not  arrive  in  support  of  Smith  until  late  in 
the  afternoon.  Even  then  the  city  could  have  been  taken. 
No  considerable  body  of  troops  had  passed  toward  the 
city  up  to  four  o'clock  on  the  i6th.  It  was  a  moonlight 
night,  and  a  bold  movement  would  have  disclosed  the 
weakness  of  the  garrison. 

Hancock,  waiving  rank,  asked  for  orders.  General 
Smith  asked  him  to  relieve  his  men  in  the  intrenchments. 
Nothing  further  was  done  by  the  Union  commanders,  but 
all  night  long  the  Confederate  leaders  hurried  men  and 
ammunitions  southward,  and  when  morning  came  the 
gray-coats  filled  Petersburg.  The  golden  hours  had  been 
wasted ;  Lee  was  intrenched,  and  as  strong  as  ever. 

And  so  this  bloody  duel  between  two  monstrous  armies 
settled  to  a  sullen  siege.  If  Petersburg  and  Richmond 
had  been  carried,  as  several  of  the  Confederate  generals  ap 
prehended  they  would  be,  it  would  have  been  indisputably 
one  of  the  greatest  campaigns  in  history.  It  would  have 
saved  millions  of  dollars  and  thousands  of  human  lives. 

The  whole  North  turned  sick  with  disappointment. 
They  had  looked  for  a  short,  sharp  campaign  ending  in 
victory;  and  so  it  would  have  been  but  for  the  unforeseen 


delays  and  embarrassments  of  a  complicate  movement. 
Probably  no  one  was  culpable,  but  into  the  chorus  of  praise 
crept  the  bitter  words  of  Grant's  enemies.  Some  sneered : 
"  This  man  from  the  West  was  successful  till  he  met  a 
real  general."  Grant,  with  his  customary  patience,  uttered 
no  word  of  explanation  or  complaint. 

General  Lee  had  fought  his  battles  with  almost  equal 
skill  and  determination.  His  army  was  compact,  less  en 
cumbered,  and  swifter  of  movement.  He  knew  the  coun 
try — every  short  cut,  every  swamp.  Every  man  he  had 
was  available ;  details  for  guarding  trains  and  supplies 
were  unnecessary.  He  had  the  interior  lines,  and,  being 
on  the  defensive,  could  select  his  own  moment  for  strik 
ing.  He  had  more  than  seventy-five  thousand  men  against 
Grant's  one  hundred  and  six  thousand.  Grant's  lines 
were  a  crawling,  enveloping  cordon,  Lee's  a  battering- 
ram.  Grant's  work  was  to  surround,  Lee's  to  pierce. 

Once  when  a  group  of  officers  were  decrying  Grant's 
campaign,  General  Lee  said :  "  Gentlemen,  I  think  Gen 
eral  Grant  has  managed  his  affairs  remarkably  well." 
This  from  General  Lee,  who  was,  like  Grant,  a  man  of  few 
words,  was  very  significant.  He  understood  something 
of  the  difficulties  in  his  adversary's  way.  He  appreciated 
the  generalship  of  a  man  who  could  take  an  army  of  a 
hundred  thousand  men  out  of  his  knowledge  for  two  days. 

Early  in  July,  General  Grant  wrote  to  Lincoln,  suggest 
ing  a  call  for  three  hundred  thousand  more  men.  In  his 
judgment,  more  troops  were  necessary,  to  enable  him  to 
prevent  raids  throughout  the  vast  extent  of  captured  ter 
ritory,  and  also  to  drive  the  enemy  from  his  front  without 
losing  the  lines  he  already  held  or  by  attacking  fortifica 
tions.  He  well  knew  that  Lee  had  made  his  last  assault. 

To  this  letter  Lincoln  replied,  saying:  "  I  think  you  have 
not  seen  the  call  already  issued."  Father  Abraham  had 
already  called  for 

Three  hundred  thousand  more, 
Shouting  the  battle-cry  of  "  Freedom!" 

During  the  month  which  followed,  an  assault  by  way 
of  a  mine  was  planned  by  Generals  Burnside  and  Meade, 
in  which  the  chief  acquiesced.  Under  the  direction  of 

278  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

Colonel  Pleasants  of  the  Forty-eighth  Pennsylvania,  a 
regiment  of  miners,  a  tunnel  was  run  beneath  the  enemy's 
work,  and  an  enormous  mine  made  ready  for  explosion. 
General  Grant,  by  several  menacing  movements  against 
Richmond,  drew  the  weight  of  Lee's  troops  away  from 
the  fortifications  fronting  Burnside,  and  July  30  was  fixed 
as  the  date  of  the  mine's  trial  and  the  accompanying 

As  the  day  drew  near  Grant  became  increasingly  anx 
ious  about  its  outcome.  He  bivouacked  with  Burnside's 
corps,  to  be  near  in  case  of  need.  He  gave  final  instruc 
tions  on  the  night  preceding  the  firing  of  the  fuse.  The 
wrorks  were  to  be  cleared  during  the  early  part  of  the 
nigh?,  so  that  nothing  should  obstruct  the  morning  at 
tack.  The  hour  set  for  touching  the  fuse  was  half-past 
three  in  the  morning.  Lots  were  drawn  among  the  divi 
sion  commanders  of  Burnside's  corps.  The  leadership  fell 
to  General  Ladlie,  the  man  least  fitted  for  the  work,  and 
the  first  mistake  was  made.  Burnside  had  decided  to 
send  General  Ferrero's  colored  troops  into  the  breach, 
but  was  overruled  by  Meade,  and  sustained  by  the  chief. 
Thus  a  second  mistake  was  headed  off.  At  last  all  was 
ready.  The  fuse  was  laid,  the  troops  under  orders,  and 
Grant  and  Meade  were  both  at  hand. 

Everybody  was  astir  in  the  moonless  dawn.  It  was 
dark  and  still.  At  half-past  three  the  chief  stood,  watch 
in  hand,  waiting.  The  army  listened.  The  hour  passed. 
Ten  minutes,  thirty  minutes,  and  still  no  sound.  Forty- 
five  went  by,  and  light  began  to  break  in  the  east.  The 
commanders  were  impatient.  Meade  was  raging ;  but  the 
chief  stood  motionless,  with  lips  sternly  set,  and  brow  lined 
with  anxiety.  Then  an  aide  brought  explanation.  The 
fuse  had  been  lighted,  and  had  smoldered  out  somewhere 
in  the  long  passage. 

But  two  brave  men  (let  their  names  be  remembered), 
Jacob  Douty  and  Henry  Reese,  of  the  Forty- eighth  Penn 
sylvania,  had  entered  the  gallery  to  find  and  repair  the 
fuse.  There  was  nothing  to  do  but  wait.  General  Grant 
was  not  in  command  at  that  moment ;  Sergeant  Reese 


At  last,  over  an  hour  past  the  appointed  time,  the 
monstrous  upheaval  took  place — first  a  shock,  then  a 
roar,  then  the  lifting  of  great  masses  of  earth  in  the  air, 
wherein,  mingled  with  flame  and  dust  and  disjected  can 
non,  the  torn,  flapping,  grotesque  forms  of  men  could  be 
seen  in  momentary  hideous  contortions.  A  crater  thirty 
feet  deep,  sixty  feet  wide,  and  nearly  two  hundred  feet 
long  was  opened  by  this  terrific  mine. 

Then  the  cannon  opened  from  the  Union  lines,  battery 
after  battery,  till  nearly  two  hundred  pieces  were  in  action. 
The  air  shivered  and  pulsed  with  the  hot  breath  of  these 
monsters,  and  the  ground  trembled  under  their  convulsive 
leaping.  It  seemed  nothing  could  live  where  their  missiles 
fell.  The  assaulting  columns  poured  into  the  breach. 
They  started  promptly  and  vigorously,  but  once  in  the 
chasm,  they  fell  into  confusion.  Some  scrambled  up  the 
sloping  sandy  sides.  Some  fell  to  rescuing  Confederate  sol 
diers  buried  to  the  neck  in  debris.  Others  scorched  the 
works  before  them,  sharp-shooting  on  their  own  account. 
All  order  was  lost.  One  regiment  crowded  upon  another, 
mixed  and  jumbled  into  a  mob.  There  was  no  leadership. 
Chaotic  crowds  clamored  for  direction.  The  thunder  of 
cannon  and  the  howls  of  shells  made  the  screams  of  regi 
mental  commanders  of  little  account.  General  Ladlie  was 
nowhere  to  be  seen.  Generals  of  brigades  were  not  nu 
merous.  No  one  wished  to  enter  that  death-trap,  where 
sand  and  shapeless  blocks  of  earth  made  alignment  impos 
sible  and  assault  almost  certain  death. 

And  yet  at  first  there  was  little  danger.  Had  the  ad 
vance  pushed  on  rapidly,  giving  place  to  the  succeeding 
columns,  the  whole  division  could  have  been  set  safely  on 
high  ground  within  the  enemy's  lines  before  they  recovered 
from  their  dismay.  For  nearly  an  hour  the  gray-coats 
stood  afar,  in  fear  and  awe.  Then,  reforming,  they  came 
back  to  the  defense,  and  poured  a  desolating  hail  of  bul 
lets  upon  the  heads  of  the  blue-coated  men  in  the  crater. 

Grant,  seeing  that  something  was  wrong,  mounted  his 
horse  and  made  directly  to  the  front.  He  soon  came  to 
a  brigade  lying  upon  its  arms. 

"Who  commands  this  brigade?"  he  inquired. 

280  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

"  I  do,"  said  an  officer,  springing  from  the  ground. 

"Why  are  you  not  moving  on?" 

"  My  orders  are  to  follow  that  brigade,"  replied  the 
officer.  "Will  you  give  me  the  order  to  go  now?" 

"  No,"  replied  the  chief,  and  rode  on. 

Everywhere  the  same  story — everywhere  men  and  offi 
cers  waiting  for  the  advance  columns  to  move.  Grant 
kept  on  until  it  was  unsafe  to  go  farther  on  horseback. 
He  dismounted,  and,  followed  by  Colonel  Porter,  elbowed 
his  way  in  all  haste  toward  General  Burnside.  It  was 
evident  that  the  attack  had  failed.  The  army  was  mak 
ing  leaderless  and  ineffectual  assault,  and  Grant  was 
hurrying  to  stop  the  sacrifice.  To  save  time  and  to  gain 
speed,  he  climbed  the  parapet,  and  ran  along  the  outer 
wall  of  the  Union  defenses,  exposed  to  the  enemy's  fire. 
He  was  streaming  with  perspiration  and  covered  with 
dust,  but  he  hurried  on  without  glancing  back,  while  the 
cannon-shots  plowed  up  the  ground  around  him. 

General  Burnside,  occupying  one  of  the  most  advanced 
earthworks,  was  amazed  to  see  the  commander  of  the 
armies  of  the  United  States  enter  the  Union  works  from 
the  outside,  dusty,  panting  with  fatigue,  his  face  dark  with 
anxiety  and  disappointment. 

"  General  Burnside,  the  entire  opportunity  has  been  lost. 
There  is  now  no  chance  of  success.  These  troops  must 
be  immediately  withdrawn.  It  is  slaughter  to  leave  them 

It  was  two  o'clock  before  this  order  of  General  Grant 
was  carried  out.  The  assault  ended  in  bitter  failure — for 
lack  of  competent  leadership,  Grant  thought.  "  I  believe 
that  the  men  would  have  performed  every  duty  required 
of  them,  if  they  had  been  properly  led."  The  month 
closed  gloomily,  and  the  critics  in  the  North  held  Grant 

The  explosion  of  this  mine  and  the  accompanying  as 
sault,  great  as  they  seemed,  and  disastrous  as  they  proved, 
were,  after  all,  only  incidents  in  the  great  campaign  to 

*  This  account  of  Grant's  visit  to  Burnside  is  based  upon  General  Porter's 
story  in  his  "  Campaigning  with  Grant."  The  official  Records  of  the  War 
Department  furnish  the  basis  of  criticism. 


which  Grant  had  set  his  hand.  He  now  planned  to  hold 
Lee  where  he  was,  and  push  the  distant  Union  armies 
into  new  positions.  The  Southern  forces  had  at  last  con 
centrated  into  two  grand  armies,  Hood  confronting  Sher 
man  in  Georgia,  and  Lee  defending  Richmond.  The 
question  was  not  how  to  whip  them,  but  how  to  destroy 

The  country  fell  into  the  trough  of  depression  again, 
and  Grant,  upon  whom  so  much  depended,  was  again 
counted  a  failure.  Condemnation  became  general,  sweep 
ing,  and  unjust.  Vicious  stories  again  circulated  in 
private  circles,  set  afloat  by  discredited  and  displaced  sub 
ordinates.  The  army  was  still  filled  with  antagonisms 
and  jealousies,  and  defeat  and  criticism  brought  about  the 
bitterest  recriminations.  Unquestionably,  Grant  should 
have  relieved  a  half-dozen  of  his  subordinates,  and  re 
placed  them  by  those  in  harmony  with  himself  and  Gen 
eral  Meade.  Napoleon  or  Bismarck  would  have  had  them 
shot.  If  Grant  was  culpable  at  all,  it  was  in  not  com 
manding  his  subordinates  with  absolute  authority. 

Again  the  strong  nature  of  the  man  came  out.  In  the 
midst  of  all  discouragement,  he  set  his  teeth  hard,  and 
tightened  his  hold  upon  Lee  and  the  capital  of  the 

July  was  a  hard  month  for  General  Grant.  His  tre 
mendous  campaign  had  ended  in  apparent  failure. 
Washington  was  menaced  by  Confederate  forces  under 
General  Early.  Sherman  was  confronted  by  Johnston 
and  Hood  at  Atlanta;  the  Army  of  the  Potomac  was  dis 
couraged,  grumbling  at  the  heat,  and  filled  with  jealousy 
and  disputes;  while  the  country  had  again  lost  faith  in 
General  Grant  himself. 

Sherman  was  calling  for  reinforcements,  and  he  himself 
felt  the  need  of  more  men.  But  the  most  dangerous  and 
disheartening  thing  of  all  was  the  rising  clamor  of  half 
hearted  Northern  critics.  Upon  this  indifference  the 
South  calculated.  The  North  had  almost  ceased  to  vol 
unteer  ;  the  draft  had  been  put  in  force ;  and  in  the  face 
of  new  demands  for  reinforcements  the  copperhead  press 
of  the  North  filled  the  air  with  howls  for  "  peace  at  any 

282  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

cost."  Citizens  were  advised  to  resist  the  draft.  Meet 
ings  were  called  in  Northern  cities  to  denounce  Grant  and 
the  administration.  Lincoln  had  been  renominated  for 
the  Presidency,  and  his  election  was  as  necessary  to  the 
nation  as  the  success  of  Sherman  or  Grant  in  the  field. 
No  truthful  history  of  the  campaigns  can  ignore  the  enemy 
in  the  rear. 

Under  these  circumstances,  insecurity  again  crept  into 
the  minds  of  the  War  Department.  Halleck  advised 
against  any  more  severe  fighting.  The  people  were  cry 
ing  out  against  the  destruction  of  their  sons,  and  the 
enormous  daily  expense  of  the  army  was  sinking  the 
nation  hopelessly  into  debt.  The  great,  rich,  and  powerful 
North  was  divided,  censorious,  or,  worse  still,  indifferent, 
while  the  South  was  a  military  camp,  a  unit,  desperately 
resolute,  and  loyal  to  their  cause,  even  to  the  last  man. 


T\ISHEARTENED  by  the  clamor,  but  not  for  a 
L/  moment  despairing,  Grant  set  to  work.  He  sent 
General  Wright  to  oppose  Early  and  drive  him  and  break 
him.  He  ordered  all  the  recruits  in  the  instruction  schools 
in  the  North  turned  over  to  Sherman,  and  assured  him 
that  Lee  was  not  likely  to  reinforce  any  other  armies 
whatsoever.  It  was  to  keep  Lee  engaged  that  he  moved 
from  right  to  left  again,  threatening  one  of  the  principal 
railways  over  which  Richmond  was  supplied.  It  instructed 
Lee,  who  could  do  nothing  but  wait  Grant's  motion,  that 
the  Union  commander  had  not  loosened  his  hold. 

Personal  losses  and  annoyances  thickened,  also.  Gen 
eral  McPherson,  whom  Grant  loved  with  a  brother's 
affection,  was  killed  before  Atlanta,  and  the  chief  felt  his 
death  more  keenly  than  he  cared  to  express.  When  the 
news  came,  he  was  forced  to  retire  to  his  tent,  weeping. 

He  had  become  involved,  also,  in  a  very  serious  entan 
glement  with  General  Butler,  an  able  man  and  a  distin 
guished  civilian,  but  distrusted  as  a  commander.  Grant 
wished  very  much  to  relieve  him,  but  was  prevented  from 
doing  so  because  of  political  conditions  in  the  North. 
General  McClellan  was  in  the  field  as  a  Presidential  can 
didate  in  opposition  to  Lincoln,  and  was  sure  to  receive  a 
large  vote.  The  election  of  Lincoln  was  an  absolute  ne 
cessity  in  carrying  on  the  war,  as  every  loyal  commander 
in  the  armies  knew,  and  everything  in  the  front  was  done 
with  an  eye  not  merely  to  the  enemies  in  gray,  but  to  the 


284  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

enemies  in  civilian  dress  in  the  North.  Therefore  Gen 
eral  Grant  bore  with  many  things,  suffering  in  silence 
under  the  criticisms  of  those  who  did  not  know  the  secret 
conditions  of  the  time.  He  could  not  relieve  General 
Butler  without  throwing  loose  upon  the  North  another 
powerful,  unsparing  critic  of  Lincoln  and  the  war  policy 
he  had  inaugurated.  Neither  could  he  report  upon  the 
disaster  at  Petersburg  on  the  3Oth  of  July  without  reflect 
ing  upon  influential  generals,  thus  giving  keener  edge  to 
the  differences,  amounting  to  antagonisms,  which  already 
existed  between  the  corps  commanders. 

In  addition  to  all  these  things,  the  cry,  "  Stop  this 
wholesale  murder!"  was  raised.  He  himself  was  called 
"  Grant  the  butcher."  The  number  of  men  killed  in  the 
long  campaign  from  the  Rapidan  to  Petersburg  was  held 
up  before  the  world's  eyes  with  shrieks  of  horror.  Grant 
was  held  responsible  for  this  bloodshed  by  the  peace  party 
in  the  North. 

To  this  he  grimly  replied  :  "  I  am  commanding  an  army. 
The  business  of  an  army  is  to  fight.  This  is  war.  I  am 
determined  to  whip  out  the  Rebellion.  There  is  no  other 
way.  I  am  pursuing  the  same  policy  which  I  began  at 
Belmont.  It  is  my  intention  to  fight." 

At  the  same  time  another  great  party  cried  out :  "  On 
to  Richmond!  Why  don't  you  crush  the  small  army  of 
Lee,  and  end  the  war?  Hurl  your  men  upon  that  thin 
gray  line,  and  so  end  it." 

Between  these  opposing  parties,  it  seemed,  any  ordinary 
commander  would  have  had  all  courage  and  hope  and  loy 
alty  crushed  out  of  him.  But  General  Grant  was  not  a 
politician  ;  he  was  not  devising  civil  policies :  he  was  exe 
cuting  military  commands.  The  President  and  War  De 
partment  had  made  him  general-in-chief  of  the  armies  of 
the  North,  and  he  was  directing  them  with  entire  single 
ness  of  aim.  He  continued  to  fight,  though  obliged  to 
consider  Lincoln's  reelection  a  part  of  his  autumn  campaign. 
Therefore  he  was  exceedingly  careful  of  attack,  content 
ing  himself  with  a  sure  and  safe  advance,  holding  Lee  at 
Richmond  while  sending  Sherman  through  the  richest  and 
hitherto  untouched  portion  of  the  Confederacy. 


In  a  letter  to  his  friend  Washburne,  he  said : 

We  are  progressing  here  slowly.  The  weather  has  been  in 
tolerably  warm,  so  much  so  that  marching  troops  is  nearly 
death.  ...  All  we  want  now  to  assure  an  early  restoration  of 
the  Union  is  a  determined  unity  of  sentiment  North.  The 
rebels  have  now  in  their  ranks  their  last  man ;  a  man  lost  by 
them  cannot  be  replaced.  They  have  robbed  the  cradle  and  the 
grave  equally  to  get  their  present  force.  I  have  no  doubt  the 
enemy  are  exceedingly  anxious  to  hold  out  until  after  the  Presi 
dential  election.  They  have  many  hopes  upon  its  effect.  They 
hope  for  the  election  of  a  peace  candidate. 

Our  peace  friends,  if  they  expect  peace  from  separation,  are 
much  mistaken.  It  would  be  but  the  beginning  of  war,  with 
thousands  of  our  men  joining  the  South  because  of  our  disgrace  in 
allowing  separation.  To  have  "  peace  on  any  terms  "  the  South 
would  demand  a  restoration  of  their  slaves  already  freed ;  they 
would  demand  indemnity  for  losses  sustained ;  and  they  would 
demand  a  treaty  which  would  make  the  North  slave-hunters  for 
the  South. 

This  letter  shows  how  deeply  he  had  considered  the 
whole  problem.  He  never  for  one  moment  yielded  to  the 
indifferentism  of  the  North.  He  was  determined  to  break 
the  Southern  armies,  and  the  harsher  the  criticism  on  him 
the  tighter  his  grip  became.  He  was  quite  of  a  mind 
with  Lincoln,  who  wrote :  "  I  have  seen  your  despatch 
expressing  your  unwillingness  to  break  your  hold  where 
you  are.  Hold  on  with  a  bulldog  grip." 

These  two  men,  without  anger,  charged  at  one  time 
with  not  being  antislavery  men,  were  now  the  leaders  in 
a  final  desperate  campaign.  Hot  bloods  had  cooled;  en 
thusiasms  had  changed  to  complaints ;  but  the  President 
and  his  general-in-chief  seemed  only  just  beginning  to 
fight.  Lincoln,  after  hearing  Grant's  plan  of  autumn 
campaign,  said :  "  I  am  not  much  on  military  terms,  but, 
as  I  understand  it,  you  are  to  hold  the  leg  while  the  other 
fellows  take  the  skin  off." 

In  this  homely  simile  was  included  the  substance  of 
Grant's  campaigns  for  many  months  to  come,  and  neither 
Lincoln  nor  the  general  himself  had  any  fear  of  its  trium- 

286  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

phant  outcome,  provided  the  people  in  the  North  stood 
by  them  politically. 

During  the  month  of  August  Washington  was  again  in 
a  panic.  It  was  feared  that  Lee  had  again  despatched 
troops  to  reinforce  Early  in  the  Shenandoah  Valley,  for 
the  purpose  of  making  another  raid  across  the  Potomac. 
Even  Lincoln  became  anxious,  and  telegraphed  Grant  to 
ask  whether  he  had  not  better  come  himself.  To  this 
Grant  replied,  in  substance :  "  I  do  not  believe  Lee  has 
detached  any  considerable  number  of  troops  to  go  North. 
If  he  does,  I  will  see  that  he  is  occupied  where  he  is." 

However,  finding  it  difficult  to  communicate  with  his 
forces  in  the  Shenandoah,  Grant  decided  to  send  General 
Sheridan  to  take  charge  of  all  the  troops  in  that  district, 
without  regard  to  the  rank  of  any  man,  and  his  orders 
were  to  put  himself  south  of  the  Confederate  forces,  and 
follow  them  to  the  death.  He  knew  Sheridan,  and  felt 
entirely  satisfied  that  Early  would  ultimately  be  driven 
out  of  the  Shenandoah  Valley,  or  be  destroyed.  This, 
indeed,  happened.  Sheridan  waited  until  the  moment  was 
favorable,  then  laid  his  plans  before  his  chief.  Grant 
said:  "  Go  in."  He  went  in,  and  defeated  Early  in  one 
savage  battle,  and  forever  saved  Washington  from  assault. 

Sherman,  meanwhile,  had  taken  Atlanta;  and  so  again 
these  two  "  Grant  men  "  had  brought  victory  to  the  nation 
at  a  time  when  the  nation  needed  it  most.  These  victories 
prepared  the  way  for  Lincoln's  triumphant  reelection. 
The  whole  atmosphere  of  the  North  cleared.  It  was  at 
last  understood  that  Grant  was  carrying  forward  the  war 
on  the  lines  which  he  had  laid  down  a  year  before,  upon 
taking  command  of  all  the  armies  in  the  field.  All  forces 
were  moving  now  in  unison.  About  this  time  he  ex 
pressed  his  own  satisfaction  with  regard  to  the  way  things 
were  taking  shape  in  a  letter  to  his  father  to  the  effect 
that  all  he  asked  was  for  Lee  to  stay  where  he  was  for  a 
short  time. 

At  this  moment  began  the  actual  working  out  of  Sher 
man's  long-meditated  march  to  the  sea.  Detaching  Gen 
eral  Thomas  to  confront  General  Hood,  "  Old  Tecump," 
spreading  the  wings  of  his  desolating  army,  started  on  his 


way  toward  Savannah,  cutting  the  Confederacy  in  half. 
This  movement  had  arisen  from  the  interaction  of  the 
minds  of  Sherman  and  Grant  during  the  campaign  in 
Georgia.  Grant's  idea  at  first  had  been  to  move  on  Mobile 
after  the  capture  of  Atlanta,  but  later  he  suggested  mov 
ing  on  Augusta ;  and  out  of  these  suggestions  came  Sher 
man's  final  determination  to  cut  loose  from  his  base  of 
supplies,  as  Grant  had  done  at  Vicksburg,  and  to  swing 
directly  across  the  State  to  the  coast.  On  the  I5th  of 
November,  while  the  North  was  rejoicing  over  Lincoln's 
successful  reelection,  he  was  under  way  with  sixty  thou 
sand  men ;  and  Lee,  powerless  in  the  hands  of  Grant,  could 
do  nothing  to  impede  the  terrible  progress  of  Sherman's 

This  was  indeed  war.  It  was  a  strange  lot  which  made 
General  Grant — a  man  of  gentlest  nature — the  terror  of  the 
South.  From  Donelson  to  Petersburg  he  had  waged 
unremitting,  single-purposed  war.  He  meant  to  conquer, 
but  his  resolution  was  never  bitter  or  revengeful.  He 
pursued  his  course  with  the  idea  of  a  restored  Union  ever 
before  his  eyes;  and  though  he  chafed  at  delay,  and  at 
the  need  of  political  compromises,  yet  he  never  became 
soured  or  embittered. 

It  was  his  policy  not  merely  to  hold  Lee  where  he 
was,  but  to  isolate  him ;  and  so  he  crept  slowly  around  to 
the  left,  reaching  out  like  an  encompassing  wall  to  shut 
off  the  Confederate  army  from  connection  with  the  South. 
His  progress  was  like  that  of  some  enormous,  slow-moving 

In  December  General  Thomas  met  Hood's  army  at 
Nashville,  defeated  it  and  almost  destroyed  it.  Hood 
was  on  his  way  North,  moved  by  a  design  somewhat  simi 
lar  to  that  of  Early  in  the  Shenandoah  Valley.  This 
closed  the  heavy  fighting  for  the  winter,  and  the  South 
made  no  more  aggressive  campaigns.  So,  day  by  day, 
the  great  game  went  on.  General  Grant,  at  City  Point, 
the  calm  center  of  direction,  manipulated  his  armies,  while 
Lee  sadly  waited  the  inevitable  end,  and  the  Confederate 
Congress  debated  the  question  of  arming  the  slaves. 
Davis,  meanwhile,  was  being  censured  by  a  numerous 

288  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

party  in  the  South  for  his  military  blunders  and  his  mili 
tary  dictatorship.  Dissension  and  dissolution  had  begun. 

During  all  these  days  of  vexation,  delay,  multitudinous 
burdens,  and  malicious  attack,  General  Grant,  to  those 
near  him,  remained  the  same  gentle,  self-contained,  and 
masterful  character.  His  headquarters  were  at  City  Point, 
a  level  strip  of  land  which  runs  out  into  the  broad  conflu 
ence  of  the  Appomattox  and  the  James.  He  lived  for 
the  first  few  months  in  a  tent,  as  if  on  the  march ;  but 
around  him  a  city  sprang  up,  and  the  river  grew  populous 
with  water-craft.  Wharves,  storehouses,  railroad  depots, 
eating-houses,  barber-shops,  and  other  business  houses 
arose,  while  the  call  of  stevedores  and  the  shout  of  sailors 
made  the  shore  ring  with  life,  and  trains  rumbled  to  and 
fro  carrying  supplies  to  the  army.  Up  on  the  breezy 
headland  it  was  quiet  and  very  pleasant,  but  inland,  to 
ward  Petersburg,  it  was  very  hot  during  the  long  autumn 
days.  In  the  line  of  rifle-pits  which  encircled  the  Con 
federate  city,  the  blue-coated  soldiers  sweltered  in  ill- 
concealed  impatience,  and  waited  for  the  cool  days  of 

If  the  army  seemed  idle,  its  general  was  not.  An 
enormous  amount  of  detail  fell  upon  him  during  these 
months.  His  position  was  second  only  to  that  of  Lincoln 
in  the  minds  of  both  friends  and  enemies.  Streams  of 
people  crowded  to  see  him ;  politicians  pitched  upon  him ; 
critics  assailed  him;  Generals  Butler,  Smith,  and  Warren 
gave  him  trouble;  and  his  life  at  City  Point  was  one  of 
never-ending  harassment  and  responsibility.  The  War 
Department  was  also  ready  to  find  fault  at  any  moment. 

But  he  never  seemed  worried  or  hurried.  His  mind 
seemed  capable  of  any  amount  of  work.  He  had  a  very 
remarkable  power  of  concentration,  of  introspection,  of 
carrying  on  a  profound  train  of  thought  and  yet  being 
aware  of  all  that  went  on  near  him.  He  paid  no  attention 
to  any  noise,  scurry  of  business,  or  idle  talking  which  did 
not  interest  him — seemingly,  was  deaf  and  blind ;  but  let 
a  word  be  dropped  which  concerned  things  he  should 
know,  and  he  was  alert.  It  was  impossible  to  startle  him 
— not  because  he  was  phlegmatic  of  temperament,  but 


because  his  brain  was  so  active  and  so  comprehensive,  it 
took  up  and  accounted  for  every  sound.  He  was  not 
annoyed  by  trivial  conversations  during  his  own  work, 
because  he  did  not  hear  what  he  did  not  wish  to  hear. 

In  the  midst  of  all  the  bustle  and  suspense  of  enormous 
and  complicated  movement,  he  remained  unimpatient  and 
equable  of  temper,  because  of  the  absolute  assurance  which 
he  had  of  his  power  to  do  the  work  in  hand.  There  was 
nothing  formal  about  his  headquarters.  He  was  not  un 
like  the  head  of  a  great  business  firm,  plain,  abstracted  in 
manner,  unhesitating  of  action.  It  would  not  be  true  to 
say  that  he  had  not  changed  since  the  days  of  Donelson 
and  Shiloh.  He  had  come  to  be  the  commander  in  man 
ner,  although  his  commands  were  always  quiet  and  with 
out  noise.  He  was  never  hasty,  although  some  of  his 
subordinates  were  hasty  with  him,  notably  Rawlins,  who 
presumed  at  times  upon  his  early  acquaintance  and  the 
general's  love  for  him.  But  even  Rawlins  knew  that 
there  was  an  impassable  line  between  himself  and  his  chief. 
There  was  a  point  beyond  which  he  did  not  go. 

Self,  with  General  Grant,  was  put  entirely  aside.  His 
mind  was  wholly  on  his  duties.  Nothing  was  done  for 
effect  or  for  others  to  look  at.  His  manner  toward  his 
subordinates  was  simple  and  direct.  He  never  sent  them 
on  errands  for  his  personal  pleasure.  He  always  greeted 
them  quietly  as  he  came  in,  and  took  his  seat  at  his  table 
as  modestly  as  any  clerk.  When  no  one  but  the  officers 
were  about  headquarters  he  often  talked  pleasantly  and 
unaffectedly  with  those  seated  around.  But  no  one  pre 
sumed  to  pat  him  on  the  shoulder.  His  plainness  and 
simplicity  were  accompanied  by  some  intangible  reserve 
which  demanded  respect,  not  as  a  chief  of  the  armies,  but 
as  a  human  soul  of  innate  dignity.  His  known  weakness 
in  regard  to  alcoholic  stimulants  could  not  destroy  this. 

General  Rawlins  attended  in  large  measure  to  the  mere 
business  details  connected  with  the  headquarters,  but  any 
letter  written  to  General  Grant  reached  him,  and  was  read 
by  him,  and  replied  to  in  his  own  handwriting.  If  he  could 
write  a  letter  as  quickly  and  as  well  as  he  could  dictate,  he 
preferred  to  write.  It  was  no  trouble  for  him  to  compose, 

290  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

and,  beyond  occasional  mistakes  in  spelling  and  grammar, 
his  letters  were  models  of  clearness  and  good  taste. 

He  waited  upon  himself  whenever  possible.  He  got 
his  own  mail  at  the  adjutant's  office,  unless  much  occupied, 
and  used  to  laugh  at  General  Ingalls  for  keeping  a  darky 
to  fan  the  flies  off  his  bald  head.  He  considered  every 
man  his  equal,  in  a  certain  sense,  though  he  insisted  on 
having  his  orders  strictly  enforced.  This,  of  course,  he 
considered  necessary ;  but  there  was  nothing  in  his  man 
ner  to  his  humblest  clerk  which  set  him  apart  as  a  man  of 
a  different  social  position.  Rawlins  said  of  him :  "  I  never 
knew  General  Grant  to  betray  a  want  of  confidence  in 
those  above  him,  nor  to  be  drawn  into  any  controversy  by 
those  under  him." 

He  never  lolled  about,  and  always  spoke  clearly  and 
distinctly,  but  never  loudly.  He  would  walk  across  the 
intervening  space  rather  than  lift  his  voice  to  call  to  a 
subordinate.  Equally,  no  man  abashed  him.  He  was 
serene  in  the  presence  of  the  greatest.  He  shirked  no 
hardship,  and  was  always  on  duty.  He  grew  steadily 
greater  in  the  opinion  of  those  who  were  acute  enough 
to  perceive  his  greatness  in  spite  of  his  modesty  and 

In  the  field  he  was  precisely  the  same ;  no  display,  no 
consciousness  of  being  on  exhibition.  The  staff-officer 
most  prized  by  him  was  the  one  who  did  his  work  the 
quickest  and  with  the  least  show.  The  men  soon  knew 
what  was  required  of  them,  and,  dropping  all  parade, 
became  swift  and  businesslike  in  action.  Occasionally  a 
new  man  came  on  the  staff  full  of  military  etiquette  and 
display,  but  he  soon  fell  in  with  the  wishes  of  the  chief. 
Grant  liked  his  aides  to  bring  him  accurate  reports  with 
out  excitement ;  and  sometimes  he  mildly  reproved  them 
for  showing  undue  emotion,  knowing  that  such  emotion 
would  result  in  exaggeration  of  statement. 

As  a  result  of  all  this,  wherever  General  Grant  was, 
there  tranquillity  reigned.  His  very  look  begat  confidence 
and  self-restraint.  His  headquarters  were  as  peaceful  as 
a  church.  Flies  buzzed  to  the  "  scratch,  scratch "  of 
methodical  pens  at  City  Point,  while  cannon  roared  afar. 


No  general  ever  did  more  of  his  own  labor  than  General 
Grant.  He  toiled  early  and  late.  Often,  after  everybody 
but  his  telegraph-operator  and  the  mail-clerk  had  gone  to 
bed,  he  sat  pondering  over  some  problem.  Often,  after  he 
retired,  the  clerk  carrying  a  despatch  to  him  would  find 
him  wide  awake,  waiting.  His  mind  required  that  des 
patch  ;  it  filled  some  gap  in  his  plans ;  and  upon  receiving 
it  he  was  enabled  to  close  his  eyes  and  fall  asleep. 

He  was  much  alone,  and  did  his  work  alone.  He  was 
not  crowded  in  the  position  which  he  occupied  at  this 
time.  His  subordinates  were  generally  content  to  do  as 
they  were  told,  and  stop  there.  In  matters  of  exchange, 
in  reading  and  writing  telegrams,  in  discussions  with 
the  War  Department,  in  watching  Thomas  in  Tennessee, 
Canby  on  the  Gulf,  and  Sherman  in  Georgia,  the  winter 
came.  Butler's  failure  to  capture  Fort  Fisher  (and  the 
reelection  of  Lincoln)  had  made  it  possible  to  relieve 
the  "  political  general,"  who  went  North  in  the  attempt  to 
secure  from  the  War  Department  reinstatement,  in  which 
he  very  naturally  failed. 

Mrs.  Grant  came  down  and  spent  the  winter  with  her 
husband  at  City  Point,  where  a  little  slat  house  had  been 
built  for  his  accommodation  in  place  of  the  tent,  and  there 
the  Grants  lived  almost  as  simply  and  plainly  as  at  Hard- 
scrabble,  on  the  Gravois,  in  1855.  Many  old  friends 
from  St.  Louis,  Galena,  Georgetown,  and  Bethel  came  to 
see  him  and  advise  him  what  to  do.  It  was  impossible 
for  most  of  them  to  realize  that  he  was  general  of  several 
hundred  thousand  armed  men.  They  had  no  difficulty  in 
reaching  him ;  in  fact,  he  welcomed  them  as  a  relief  from 
his  military  perplexities.  They  were  amazed  to  find  him 
the  same  man  they  had  known  in  private  life.  He  in 
quired  after  their  children  by  name,  and  wanted  to  know 
if  it  were  true  that  Jane  had  married  Tom,  and  that  old 
Uncle  Lowdermilk  was  dead.  He  knew  every  man, 
woman,  and  child  in  every  small  town  in  which  he  had 
ever  lived,  and  seemed  to  be  eager  to  know  how  they 
were  all  getting  along.  So  plain  and  neighborly  was  he 
that  his  visitors  departed  with  a  sense  of  disappointment, 
not  to  say  bewilderment. 

292  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

He  was  altogether  too  simple  and  transparent.  They 
would  have  better  enjoyed  the  deep  thunder  of  a  martial 
voice,  the  imperative  clap  of  bells,  the  swift  spring  of 
saluting  aides.  They  were  troubled  in  some  cases  with  the 
conviction  that  "  Ulyss  Grant  was  not  so  much  of  a  gen 
eral,  after  all,"  and  that  their  advice  might  come  in  handy 
with  him  before  the  war  was  done.  They  told  the  folks 
at  home  that  Ulyss  was  mighty  glad  to  see  them  and  talk 
things  over  with  them,  and  they  did  n't  see  how  in  the 
world  he  ever  come  to  get  in  that  position,  anyhow.  It 
was  just  his  darn  luck. 

His  courtesy  was  unfailing,  even  in  the  midst  of  the 
most  eventful  periods.  He  seemed  always  to  have  time 
for  certain  of  his  friends  when  they  came.  In  fact,  he 
never  seemed  hurried.  At  the  very  time  that  Sherman 
was  calling  for  reinforcements,  when  General  Early  was 
menacing  Washington,  and  the  siege  of  Petersburg  was 
demanding  the  most  absorbed  and  wakeful  attention,  he 
wrote  in  reply  to  a  young  school-girl  in  Washington, 
acknowledging  the  gift  of  a  smoking-cap  in  terms  of 
serene  pleasantry.  The  saucy  girl  had  said  that  he  was 
not  to  wear  the  cap  until  after  he  had  taken  Richmond. 
To  this  he  readily  agreed,  and  said  that  it  would  not  be 
very  long,  either. 

President  Lincoln  came  down  often,  and  was  accustomed 
to  drop  in  at  headquarters  without  warning,  remove  his 
hat,  and  say,  "  Good  morning,  gentlemen,"  quite  as  if  he 
were  a  member  of  the  office  force.  Upon  entering,  he 
usually  took  a  seat  at  the  long  table  which  stood  in  the 
middle  of  the  office.  There,  stretching  his  long  legs  out 
at  their  full  length,  he  composed  himself  for  a  comfortable 
neighborly  chat.  He  was  usually  inclined  to  tell  stories, 
and  joke,  seeming  to  enjoy  a  moment's  escape  from  his 
great  burden.  He  very  evidently  rested  securely  upon 
his  great  general's  calmness  and  certainty  of  power.  He 
comprehended  the  plan ;  he  approved  of  it  and  had  faith 
in  the  ultimate  victory  of  the  Northern  army.  It  is  a  trib 
ute  to  the  purity  of  Grant's  life  that  Lincoln  never  told 
coarse  stories  in  his  presence.  He  respected  Grant's 
hatred  of  wit  at  the  expense  of  women, 


The  general  was  no  gossip.  He  never  made  remarks  in 
criticism  of  a  visitor  after  the  visitor  had  left,  and  by  his 
manner  always  showed  an  objection  to  hearing  others  talk 
about  people  "  behind  their  backs."  He  disliked  a  show  of 
secrecy,  and  often  stopped  some  one  who  began  a  whis 
pered  conversation  by  making  his  own  replies  in  a  loud 
voice,  which  became  ludicrous  to  bystanders  and  embar 
rassing  to  the  offending  person. 

He  kept  up  his  reading  of  the  newspapers,  and  seemed 
not  to  be  disturbed  by  criticism.  He  kept  his  troubles  to 
himself.  He  had  no  small  talk  to  amuse  people  with,  but 
he  sought  relaxation  occasionally  in  talk  of  horses  and 
farming.  This  gave  rise  to  the  statement  by  some  cor 
respondents  that  Grant  was  an  active  horse-jockey,  but  a 
mighty  indolent  general  of  armies.  He  was  always  rea 
sonably  neat  of  outer  dress  and  scrupulously  clean  of  linen, 
but  he  had  no  time  to  spend  in  ceremonial  dressing.  He 
wore  one  suit  morning,  noon,  and  night.  His  horse  was 
always  smooth  as  silk,  and  his  trappings  in  order. 

He  was  a  man  of  great  sensitiveness  in  unexpected 
directions.  He  could  not  bear  the  sight  of  blood.  Raw 
steak  disgusted  him.  Suffering  appealed  to  him  so  keenly 
that  he  could  not  look  on  the  wounded  of  a  battle-field ; 
he  shuddered  and  averted  his  face.  He  could  not  endure 
to  see  an  animal  abused,  and  the  two  occasions  when  he 
lost  his  temper  show  his  chivalry  and  gentleness.  Once 
he  came  upon  a  soldier  insulting  a  woman,  and  with  a 
sudden  rush  he  felled  the  miscreant  with  a  clubbed  musket. 
The  second  instance  was  in  the  Wilderness  campaign, 
when  he  came  upon  a  teamster  beating  a  horse  most 
cruelly.  For  a  "butcher"  and  a  "bulldog"  these  are 
curious  traits. 

As  a  commander  his  most  marked  characteristics  were 
measureless  persistence,  swift  and  unhesitant  action,  calm 
mastery  of  details,  considerateness  in  the  treatment  of 
subordinates,  courage  to  assume  responsibility,  and  beyond 
and  perhaps  above  all,  the  capacity  to  do,  in  the  heat  and 
tumult  of  war,  things  so  conspicuously  right  that  when 
the  battle  is  ended  they  seem  to  have  been  inspired  by  a 
miraculous  common  sense. 

294  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

In  these  winter  days,  also,  the  peace-loving  men  and 
women  of  both  sections  moved  for  a  compromise  which 
should  end  the  war.  A  commission  was  appointed  by  the 
Confederate  States,  and  on  the  last  day  of  January  its 
members  presented  themselves  on  the  Union  lines  about 
Petersburg,  and  were  immediately  conducted  to  General 
Grant's  headquarters.  They  proved  to  be  Alexander  H. 
Stephens,  Vice-President  of  the  Confederacy,  the  Hon. 
J.  A.  Campbell,  Assistant  Secretary  of  War,  and  Senator 
R.  M.  T.  Hunter. 

General  Grant  made  them  comfortable,  and  informed 
the  President  and  Stanton  of  their  presence  and  their 
object,  which  was  to  negotiate  a  peace  between  the  United 
States  and,  as  they  termed  it,  the  Confederate  government. 
Grant  did  not  admit  their  claims  to  a  government,  and 
had  no  dealings  with  them.  He  informed  Stanton,  how 
ever,  that  he  believed  their  intentions  were  good,  but  that 
he  did  not  feel  at  liberty  to  express  views  of  his  own, 
neither  could  he  account  to  them  for  his  reticence.  His 
position  was  awkward,  but  there  was  no  help  for  it.  He 
ended  by  expressing  the  wish  that  President  Lincoln 
should  meet  the  commissioners  within  the  Union  lines. 

This  wish  Lincoln  determined  to  gratify.  Accompanied 
by  Secretary  Seward,  he  went  to  the  front  and  met  the 
Southern  commissioners.  For  four  hours  the  talk  lasted, 
and  ended  without  result.  The  Southern  men  were  not 
yet  ready  to  submit,  and  Lincoln  and  Grant  were  never 
further  from  any  compromise.  They  were  fighting  for 
two  fundamental  demands :  first,  that  the  Union  should 
be  maintained ;  and  second,  that  slavery  should  forever  be 
abolished  from  the  land.  Neither  the  President  nor  his 
chief  for  one  instant  thought  of  accepting  less,  and  the 
commission  withdrew,  while  Grant  tightened  his  hold  on 
Lee's  army,  and  Sherman  continued  his  desolating  advance 
through  the  Carolinas.  War  with  Grant  was  constant  and 
inexorable  advance. 

In  fulfilling  these  plans  Sherman's  star  rose  each  day 
higher,  till  he  absorbed  the  attention  of  the  nation,  and 
Grant,  while  not  forgotten,  was  less  studied  and  less  men 
tioned  by  the  press,  for  which  he  was,  no  doubt,  grateful. 


There  was  something  superbly  dramatic  and  audacious  in 
the  march  of  Sherman's  army  through  the  enemy's  coun 
try,  now  lost  to  sight,  now  reappearing  in  the  blaze  of 
some  captured  city,  while  Grant  apparently  lay  dozing  at 
Petersburg;  therefore  it  was  that  Sherman  became  almost 
equal  in  national  importance,  and,  in  the  eyes  of  Grant's 
ready  critics,  came  at  last  to  be  the  really  great  and  only 
commander  of  the  Northern  army.  Sherman  was  no 
longer  the  "  crazy  man  "  ;  he  was  "  Tecumsey  the  Great." 
To  the  South  he  was  "  Attila  the  Scourge." 

But  there  were  those  who  perceived  that  Sherman  was 
the  lash  in  Grant's  controlling  fist.  There  were  those 
who  perceived  that  in  Grant's  mind  lay  the  simple  but 
stupendous  plan  which  made  of  Sherman  one  of  three 
converging  armies  whose  center  was  Lee  and  Richmond. 
For  months  Grant  and  Lee  had  stood  like  two  prodigious 
wrestlers,  locked  in  a  stern  embrace.  Each  had  been  able 
to  hold  his  own,  but  neither  had  been  able  to  move  the 
other.  Lee  was  behind  fortifications  which  Grant  could 
not  storm.  Grant  held  positions  from  which  Lee  had  not 
been  able  to  rout  him.  Lee's  fortifications  were  a  neces 
sity  ;  Grant's  were  only  an  expediency. 

Grant,  however,  had  not  merely  held  Lee  thus  securely 
intrenched,  but  had  sent  three  great  armies  crashing 
through  the  Confederacy  at  his  will.  He  had  swept  the 
Mississippi  Valley  clean  of  any  considerable  force.  Thomas 
had  destroyed  Hood's  army ;  Sheridan  had  beaten  and 
forever  scattered  Early 's  forces;  Schofield,  after  a  success 
ful  campaign  against  Wilmington,  had  joined  Sherman. 
With  these  plans  in  his  mind  and  these  forces  in  his  hand, 
Grant  could  afford  to  pay  no  attention  whatever  to  the 
critics  of  his  government. 

Had  his  been  an  envious  soul  or  a  narrow  mind,  he 
would  have  been  fired  with  jealousy  of  Sherman  ;  but  envy 
had  no  place  in  his  nature.  He  was  jubilant  when  the 
news  of  Sherman's  success  reached  him,  and  when  a 
movement  was  started  in  the  North  to  present  Sherman 
with  some  testimonial,  Grant,  in  answer  to  a  printed  letter 
inviting  his  cooperation,  replied  saying  he  had  just  written 
to  his  father  at  Covington,  asking  him  to  start  a  subscrip- 

296  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

tion  to  present  to  Mrs.  Sherman  a  furnished  house  in  Cin 
cinnati.  "  I  directed  my  father  to  start  the  subscription 
with  five  hundred  dollars  from  me,  and  two  hundred  and 
fifty  dollars  from  General  Ingalls.  1  cannot  say  a  word 
too  highly  in  praise  of  General  Sherman's  service  from  the 
beginning  of  the  Rebellion  to  the  present  day." 

"  It  is  the  greatest  march  in  history,"  said  Grant.  "  No 
other  man  but  Sherman  could  have  marched  so  far  in  an 
enemy's  country,  and  be  stronger  at  the  finish  than  at  the 
start.  He  is  a  greater  general  than  I  am." 

Nothing  could  set  these  two  men  against  each  other. 
Sherman  knew  Grant's  far-reaching  mind  and  steadfast 
purpose,  and  he  went  his  conquering  way,  confident  that 
his  chief  had  an  ever-watchful  eye  for  his  welfare.  He 
knew  Grant  would  keep  Lee  busy,  and  see  the  old  Army 
of  the  Tennessee  safely  through. 



DURING  all  these  quiet  winter  months  those  best  in 
formed  were  aware  of  great  plans  forming  in  the 
mind  of  General  Grant,  although  no  one,  not  even  his 
staff,  knew  what  they  were  in  detail.  The  soothsayers  of 
the  land  anticipated  the  "  breaking  forth  of  a  terrific  storm 
of  war  "  as  soon  as  the  roads  became  passable  for  cavalry 
and  cannon,  and  in  this  they  were  quite  right.  The  final 
movement  was  near  at  hand. 

On  the  twenty-eighth  day  of  March,  in  the  after-cabin  of 
the  River  Queen,  at  City  Point,  the  three  chief  actors  in 
the  mighty  drama  of  that  day  were  gathered  together. 
Grant,  Sherman,  and  Lincoln  had  met  to  discuss  the  situ 
ation,  and  their  meeting  had  immense  significance.  Sher 
man's  army  was  safe  at  the  coast.  Grant  was  steadily 
pushing  his  lines  round  Lee  to  the  west.  All  things  were 
ready.  The  moment  might  be  well  termed  historical. 
General  Sherman,  tall,  thin,  and  nervous,  formed  the  rest 
less  spirit  of  the  group.  Lincoln,  sitting  low  in  his  chair, 
with  his  long  legs  draped  alternately  over  each  other, 
studied  his  two  great  chieftains  with  eyes  which  alternately 
gleamed  and  glowed.  Grant,  compact,  self-contained, 
and  silent,  was  the  pivot  round  which  the  talk  ran.  To 
him  every  question  was  ultimately  referred. 

After  one  of  Sherman's  rapid,  fiery  speeches,  the  Presi 
dent  turned  his  slightly  smiling  face  toward  Grant,  and 
asked  him  to  explain  his  plans  covering  that  point. 

Grant  replied :  "  At  this  moment  Sheridan  is  crossing 
the  James  River  from  the  north  by  a  pontoon-bridge  below 

298  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

City  Point.  I  have  a  large  and  well-appointed  force  of 
cavalry  with  which  I  propose  to  strike  the  South  Side  and 
Danville  railways.  These  are  the  only  roads  left  over 
which  Lee  can  supply  his  army.  I  intend  to  continue  my 
movement  to  the  left  until  Lee  is  entirely  cut  off  from  the 
Confederacy.  He  will  be  obliged  to  either  surrender  or 
abandon  Richmond.  If  he  comes  out  of  his  lines  to  fight, 
I  shall  whip  him.  My  only  fear  is  that  he  will  slip  away 
to  join  Johnston  in  the  South.  I  shall  start  with  no  dis 
tinct  view  other  than  to  prevent  Lee  from  following  Sheri 
dan;  but  I  shall  be  along  myself,  and  take  advantage  of 
anything  that  turns  up." 

Sherman  smiled  joyously.  "  Let  him  join  Johnston,  if 
he  wishes.  My  army  at  Goldsboro  is  strong  enough  to 
whip  him  and  Johnston  combined,  provided  General  Grant 
can  come  up  in  a  day  or  two.  If  Lee  will  remain  at 
Richmond  another  week,  I  can  march  to  Burkeville,  and 
Lee  will  starve  inside  his  own  lines,  or  come  out  and  fight 

Lincoln  looked  thoughtful.  "  How  many  men  has  Lee  ?  " 

Grant  replied :  "  I  estimate  his  available  force  at  sixty- 
five  thousand,  but  great  numbers  are  deserting." 

Lincoln  seemed  to  think  that  in  Lee's  army  the  spirit  of 
battle  still  remained,  and  he  asked  sorrowfully : 

"  Can  we  not  end  this  thing  without  another  battle  ? 
Is  it  necessary  that  more  blood  be  shed  ?  " 

Grant  and  Sherman  both  felt  that  one  more  bloody  bat 
tle  must  be  fought,  but  that  would  be  the  last. 

Lincoln  again  exclaimed :  "  There  has  been  blood 
enough  shed!  We  must  avoid  another  battle." 

"We  cannot  control  that,"  replied  Sherman.  "That 
rests  with  the  enemy.  If  they  attack,  we  must  whip  them. 
Davis  and  Lee  will  be  forced  to  fight  one  more  desperate 
battle.  I  think  it  will  fall  on  me  somewhere  near  Raleigh." 

Grant  then  said :  "  If  Lee  will  wait  where  he  is  for  a  few 
days,  I  will  have  my  army  so  disposed  that  if  he  attempts 
to  join  Johnston  I  will  be  at  his  heels,  and  he  cannot 

Lincoln  was  profoundly  excited  by  the  plans  of  his 
great  generals.  The  end  of  the  war  seemed  at  hand,  but 


the  fear  of  another  day  of  carnage  kept  lodgment  in  his 
mind.  He  longed  for  peace  with  the  heart  of  a  woman. 
He  would  have  accepted  almost  any  terms  at  that  moment. 
But  Grant,  calm,  gentle,  but  inflexible,  supplied  the 
undeviating  and  dispassionate  purpose  of  the  war.  His 
mind  was  with  Sheridan's  troops,  filing  in  long  streams  of 
faded  blue  and  flashing  steel  across  the  James  River. 
Even  as  the  three  men  talked,  Grant's  great  plans  were 
being  executed  by  those  who  knew  the  "  old  commander  " 
was  sending  them  to  victory.  Stoneman's  cavalry  was 
pushing  into  West  Virginia ;  Wilson  was  on  the  way ; 
Canby  was  in  action  in  the  South. 

Grant  had  determined  to  close  the  war  at  once. 
Sherman  returned  to  his  troops,  and  two  days  later,  under 
the  chief's  immediate  command,  the  Army  of  the  Potomac 
began  a  momentous  shifting  of  ground.  The  men  looked 
into  each  others'  faces  with  shining  eyes.  Movement 
meant  victory ;  they  were  done  with  waiting.  The  "  old 
man's  "  plans  had  ripened.  Now  for  a  short  and  sharp 
campaign,  and  then  home  and  happiness!  Even  the 
men  left  in  the  trenches  were  ordered  to  keep  face  steadily 
to  the  west.  The  final  closing  in  was  begun. 

Sheridan  moved  out  in  advance  as  soon  as  artillery  could 
be  moved.  Division  after  division  was  withdrawn,  and, 
filing  behind,  the  extreme  left  took  new  position,  extend 
ing  the  line  by  so  many  miles.  It  was  like  the  movement 
of  a  monstrous  serpent — the  same  menacing  and  terrifying 
movement  which  had  begun  on  the  Rapidan.  Sheridan 
was  soon  on  his  road  to  Five  Forks,  with  instructions  to 
menace  Lee's  extreme  right,  and  to  draw  out,  defeat,  and 
flank  the  gray  men  at  that  point. 

The  Richmond  papers  kept  up  a  loud-sounding  promise 
of  victory ;  but  Lee  knew  all  too  well  the  kind  of  man  he 
had  to  deal  with.  His  soldierly  perception  was  sharpened, 
not  dulled,  by  Grant's  apparent  inactivity.  He  hurried  to 
the  right  wing  of  his  army  in  person,  hoping  in  some  way 
to  defeat  the  "  hammerer's  "  designs.  He  also  reinforced 
his  line  at  that  point,  and  met  Sheridan  at  Five  Forks  with 
desperate  courage. 

Sheridan,  tardily  reinforced  by  General  Warren,  moved 

300  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

to  the  assault  with  characteristic  fire  and  force,  and  at 
dusk  on  the  night  of  the  1st  of  April  sent  his  men  over 
the  parapets  of  the  enemy,  capturing  six  thousand  prisoners 
and  much  artillery  and  small  arms.  The  "  little  general  " 
followed  the  flying  enemy  in  person  until  nine  o'clock  at 
night.  He  then  halted  his  troops,  and  himself  rode  back 
to  Five  Forks  to  dispose  of  the  remaining  part  of  his 
command  in  face  of  the  enemy. 

The  chief  smiled  when  this  news  came  to  him.  "  Good ! 
good!"  he  said.  Then  he  let  loose  the  majesty  of  his 
whole  army.  The  cannon  opened  from  one  end  of  the 
line  to  the  other.  General  Weitzel,  on  the  north  side  of 
the  James  River,  was  ordered  to  advance  his  forces  to 
menace  the  city  of  Richmond,  and  to  enter  if  troops  were 
withdrawn.  Orders  were  given  to  Wright  and  Parke  to 
assault  Petersburg  for  the  last  time  at  four  o'clock  in 
the  morning.  General  Humphreys  and  General  Ord  of 
the  Army  of  the  James,  who  occupied  the  south  side  of  the 
river,  were  to  move  upon  the  enemy  at  the  very  moment 
they  saw  the  lines  weakened.  Nothing  the  great  com 
mander  had  ever  done  was  more  orderly,  more  impressive, 
more  inexorable.  It  was  war  on  a  mighty  scale.  It  was 
an  attempt  to  ensnare,  not  to  defeat,  an  army. 

At  four  o'clock,  with  a  sudden  redoubling  of  cannonad 
ing,  the  blue-clad  columns  moved  to  the  assault.  Parke 
and  Wright  moved  out  of  their  works,  and  advanced  under 
a  desolating  artillery  fire  from  the  enemy,  and  went 
steadily  on,  sweeping  the  abatis  from  their  front,  on  and 
on  till  they  mounted  the  parapets,  and  threw  themselves 
within  the  enemy's  outer  lines,  and  turned  them  against 
the  inner  redoubts.  They  swept  this  exterior  line  clear  of 
gray-coats,  and  captured  nearly  three  thousand  prisoners. 

At  the  same  hour  Ord  and  Humphreys  had  moved  for 
ward  upon  other  outer  lines  of  intrenchments.  They,  too, 
were  carried.  When  the  news  from  all  the  points  reached 
Grant,  he  mounted  his  horse,  and  rode  to  the  front  to 
join  the  troops  inside  the  fortifications  of  the  city.  He 
wanted  to  "  be  along"  "to  see  what  turned  up." 

General  Lee  made  the  most  desperate  efforts  to  regain 
his  line  of  outer  works.  He  sent  his  brave  men  again  and 


again  against  the  blue-coated  ranks.  But  in  vain ;  the  con 
ditions  were  changed.  His  troops  were  in  the  open, 
Grant's  intrenched.  He  could  do  nothing  but  waste  his 
men.  Longstreet,  one  of  his  most  tremendous  fighters, 
was  ordered  up  from  his  position  in  defense  of  Richmond 
against  Weitzel — the  last  resource  of  a  desperate  com 
mander.  Grant  smiled  again  when  he  heard  this — a  slow, 
significant  smile,  without  ferocity,  the  smile  of  a  man 
whose  eyes  are  full  of  thought.  He  ordered  Weitzel  to 
watch  his  chance,  and  when  he  saw  an  opening  to  go  in 
and  possess  the  city. 

The  people  of  Richmond  heard  the  sound  of  cannon  on 
that  Sabbath  morning,  but,  like  the  people  of  Vicksburg, 
they  had  grown  accustomed  to  "  Grant's  pyrotechnic  dis 
plays,"  and  ate  breakfast  in  comparative  security,  trusting 
all  to  General  Lee.  While  Lee's  men  died  uselessly,  these 
citizens  made  ready  for  church,  the  ladies  donning  such 
finery  as  they  had  retained ;  and  at  about  the  hour  when 
Lee,  haggard  with  misery,  was  uncovering  Richmond  by 
ordering  Longstreet  to  report  at  Petersburg,  the  churches 
were  filling  up  with  a  leisurely  and  stately  moving  throng, 
mostly  ladies.  It  was  impossible  that  Lee  should  ever  be 
beaten  or  captured! 

In  St.  Paul's  Church  was  the  largest  and  finest  assem 
blage,  for  Jefferson  Davis  worshiped  there.  The  seats 
were  filled.  The  hymn  was  given  out,  and  the  rustling 
hymn-book  leaves  were  fluttering,  when  a  messenger 
slipped  up  the  aisle  and  handed  a  despatch  to  President 
Davis.  It  sent  the  blood  back  upon  his  heart,  and  a  look 
that  awed  his  people  came  into  his  face ;  and  well  it  might. 
The  message  was  from  Lee :  "  The  enemy  has  broken  my 
line  in  three  places.  Richmond  must  be  evacuated  to 
night."  Davis  read  it,  rose  quietly  and  walked  out,  then 
hurried  to  his  office  to  give  orders  removing  the  seat  of 
government  to  Danville.  This  doomful  news  passed  from 
lip  to  lip,  and  a  reign  of  flame  and  terror  began  in  Rich 

General  Ewell,  commanding  the  city,  ordered  the  ware 
houses  to  be  burned.  He  fired  all  the  shipping  in  the 
river,  and  blew  up  all  the  rams,  whose  explosion  reached 

302  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

the  ears  of  General  Wright.  This  conflagration  set  at 
work  by  Ewell  ate  the  heart  out  of  Richmond,  and  the 
smoke  ascending  to  the  sky  told  the  Union  troops  of  the 
desperate  condition  of  the  city.  The  people  went  insane 
with  fear  and  excitement;  flight  began,  and  the  worse 
element  of  the  streets  began  to  plunder  and  destroy.  At 
eight  o'clock  the  following  morning  General  Weitzel 
entered  the  city,  followed  by  negro  troops  singing,  with 
characteristic  frenzy  of  joy,  their  great  marching  chorus : 

John  Brown's  body  lies  a-moldering  in  the  grave, 
But  his  soul  goes  marching  on! 

Down  at  Petersburg,  Grant  was  with  Meade,  superin 
tending  the  battle  with  Lee,  who  tried  again  and  again  to 
beat  back  the  encroaching  blue  wall,  all  to  no  purpose. 
Sheridan  came  sweeping  in  from  the  west,  and  joined 
Meade  on  the  left,  thus  making  a  continuous  battle-line, 
which  half  inclosed  the  city.  Grant,  having  all  this  under 
his  eyes,  ordered  the  cannon  to  open  at  sunrise,  to  be  fol 
lowed  by  a  grand  assault  an  hour  later.  Before  the  sun 
rose  Lee  gave  up  the  fight  and  evacuated  the  city,  starting 
on  his  retreat  to  join  Johnston. 

Grant  entered  Petersburg  so  close  on  the  flying  troops 
of  Lee  that  he  could  have  turned  his  cannon  upon  the 
packed  masses  of  the  disorganized  regiments ;  but  he  had 
not  the  heart  to  do  so ;  he  wished  to  meet  his  enemy  in  the 
front.  It  was  not  his  design  to  follow  Lee,  but  to  head 
him  off,  and  he  had  already  given  orders  to  Sheridan  to 
move  out  along  the  south  side  of  the  Appomattox  River, 
and  reach  the  Danville  road  in  advance  of  Lee.  The 
ever-ready  Sheridan  had  replied,  saying :  "  My  troops  are 
nine  miles  on  the  road  already."  And  so  the  whole  army 
began  to  extend  like  a  vast  snare  with  intent  to  secure  a 
fleeing  mass  of  gray-coated  men. 

It  was  all  so  simple,  yet  so  immense.  Sheridan,  whom 
the  chief  loved  like  a  son,  and  whom  he  trusted  as  he 
trusted  his  own  right  arm,  was  sent  in  advance  to  check 
Lee's  foremost  columns,  while  General  Grant  himself  re 
mained  with  Ord  at  the  center,  to  be  in  readiness  for  any 

THE    BEGINNING   OF   THE    END  303 

doubling  of  his  desperate  enemy.  Meade  was  to  hang  on 
the  enemy's  flank. 

Grant  telegraphed  Lincoln  to  meet  him  at  Petersburg, 
which  his  own  troops  had  evacuated  in  their  pitiless  pur 
suit  of  the  fleeing  enemy.  Grant  was  alone  with  a  few 
staff-officers  when  Lincoln  arrived.  The  meeting  took 
place  on  the  veranda  of  a  deserted  house,  and  was  not 
without  its  humorous  word  on  Lincoln's  part. 

"  Do  you  know,  general,"  he  said,  "  I  had  a  sort  of 
sneaking  idea  for  some  days  you  were  going  to  do  some 
thing  like  this!" 

Grant  smiled  at  the  phrase  "  sneaking  idea,"  for  he  had 
concealed  from  the  President  the  real  form  of  his  final 
movement,  wishing  to  spare  him  all  disappointment.  He 
now  opened  all  his  plans.  With  a  certain  delicacy  of 
sentiment,  he  had  refrained  from  calling  in  the  Western 
troops,  because  he  wished  the  Army  of  the  Potomac  to 
have  the  honor  of  capturing  Richmond  and  Lee,  if  possi 
ble,  without  outside  aid.  He  feared  ill  feeling  and  bicker 
ing  to  follow  between  the  leaders  of  the  East  and  West  in 
Congress.  All  this  he  explained  in  answer  to  Lincoln's 
question  concerning  Sherman's  cooperation. 

Lincoln  replied :  "  I  see  that  now,  but  I  had  not  thought 
of  it  before.  My  anxiety  to  end  the  war  has  been  so  great 
that  I  did  not  care  where  the  aid  came  from." 

With  a  hearty  "  God  bless  you ! "  the  President  mounted 
his  horse  and  rode  back  to  City  Point,  while  Grant,  with 
out  entering  Richmond,  with  scarcely  a  glance  in  its  direc 
tion,  galloped  to  the  west  to  keep  pace  with  his  army 
center;  and  so  to  a  subordinate  was  given  the  honor  of 
entering  the  rebel  capital  and  its  presidential  mansion. 

The  jubilant  Union  army  was  marching  without  rations, 
and  straight  into  the  enemy's  country ;  but  that  did  not 
matter.  "  Richmond  is  taken ;  this  is  the  last  campaign," 
they  said,  and  so  they  had  no  fear  of  what  was  to  follow. 
They  felt  sure  of  ending  Lee's  career  almost  before  the 
need  of  further  rations.  The  "  old  man  "  was  along,  and 
things  always  moved  where  he  was.  The  men  sang  and 
shouted  and  laughed,  and  made  prodigious  marches  with 
out  complaint,  almost  in  a  frenzy  of  delight.  The  roads 

304  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

were  very  bad,  but  they  were  as  bad  for  the  enemy ; 
rations  were  as  hard  to  get  for  the  men  in  gray  as  for  the 
men  in  blue.  And  so  the  swift  and  tireless  pursuit 
went  on. 

"  The  armies  of  the  South  are  now  our  strategic  points," 
Grant  wrote  to  Sherman,  and  pushed  on,  intent  on  throw 
ing  sufficient  force  between  Lee  and  Burkeville  on  the 
Danville  road  to  stop  him  and  bring  him  to  bay.  Sheri 
dan  and  Meade  joined  at  Jetersville,  confronting  Lee,  who 
was  at  Amelia  Court-house,  and  Grant  was  still  riding  with 
Ord  on  the  left.  When  he  came  into  camp,  after  being  all 
day  on  horseback,  two  soldiers  in  rebel  uniform  were 
brought  in  as  prisoners.  They  said  they  wished  to  see  the 
commanding  general,  and  were  immediately  brought  be 
fore  Grant. 

They  proved  to  be  Union  soldiers  from  Sheridan's 
army,  disguised  as  rebels.  They  had  come  through  the 
enemy's  lines  to  avoid  a  long  detour.  One  of  them  took 
from  his  mouth  a  quid  of  tobacco  in  which  was  a  small 
pellet  of  tin-foil.  This,  when  opened,  was  found  to  con 
tain  a  note  from  Sheridan,  written  on  tissue-paper,  saying : 
"  It  is  of  the  utmost  importance  for  the  success  of  the 
movement  now  being  made  that  you  come  at  once  to 
these  headquarters.  Meade  has  given  his  part  of  the 
army  orders  to  move  in  such  a  manner  that  Lee  may 
break  through  and  escape." 

Grant  ordered  a  fresh  horse,  and  set  off  at  once,  without 
even  waiting  for  a  cup  of  coffee.  Although  Sheridan's 
headquarters  were  not  more  than  ten  miles  away,  the  gen 
eral  had  to  make  a  wide  detour  around  the  rebel  lines,  rid 
ing  nearly  thirty  miles  in  addition  to  his  day's  journey. 
He  was  challenged  by  pickets,  and  had  great  difficulty  in 
getting  through  the  lines,  and  was  forced  to  pick  his  way 
among  sleeping  soldiers  bivouacked  in  the  open  field. 

He  reached  Sheridan  about  midnight.  He  was  awake, 
waiting,  and  very  anxious.  He  explained  in  a  few  vigor 
ous  words  the  situation.  Meade  had  given  him  orders  to 
move  on  the  right  flank  and  cover  Richmond.  This,  Sheri 
dan  said,  would  exactly  open  the  door  for  Lee  to  escape. 
Meade's  fear  was  that  by  uncovering  Richmond  Lee  would 

THE    BEGINNING    OF   THE    END  305 

get  into  our  rear  and  trouble  our  communications.  Sheri 
dan's  idea  was  to  move  on  the  west  flank,  leave  Richmond 
and  the  communications  to  take  care  of  themselves,  and  to 
swing  between  Lee  and  the  road  to  Johnston,  and  press 
and  attack  the  Confederates  wherever  found. 

Meade  had  misinterpreted  Grant's  plan.  The  question 
was  not  the  occupation  of  Richmond,  but  the  destruction 
of  Lee's  army. 

The  general  started  to  find  Meade,  who  was  ailing  and 
in  bed.  He  was  very  cordial,  and  began  talking  about  the 
next  day's  march  and  the  route  he  had  laid  down.  Grant 
listened  a  moment,  then  said:  "  I  do  not  approve  of  your 
march.  I  do  not  want  Richmond  so  much  as  Lee.  Rich 
mond  is  only  a  collection  of  houses  ;  Lee  is  an  active  force. 
Your  business  is  not  to  follow  Lee,  but  to  head  him  off." 

He  took  out  his  pencil,  and  wrote  an  order  countermand 
ing  Meade's  orders,  and  directing  the  whole  force  to  have 
coffee  at  four  o'clock,  and  move  on  the  left  flank.  He 
handed  it  to  Meade,  and  said  :  "  You  have  no  time  to  lose." 

Meade  loyally  went  to  work,  and  his  next  movement 
threw  the  Union  forces  between  Lee  and  the  Carolinas, 
and  the  battle  of  Sailor's  Creek  took  place  next  day.  No 
single  act  of  Grant's  whole  career  was  more  vigorous,  more 
important,  and  more  soldierly  than  this  midnight  ride  of 
thirty  miles  in  an  enemy's  country  without  guard.  It  was 
the  power  to  do  this,  and  the  perception  to  understand  the 
need  of  promptness,  that  made  Grant  the  general  that  he 
was.  This  ride  had  something  of  the  old-time  heroism  in  it. 

There  was  no  danger  of  Lee's  swinging  to  the  left.  He 
was  retreating  with  all  the  skill  he  could  bring  to  bear,  and 
fought  only  when  forced  to  do  so.  He  was  obliged  to 
cross  the  Danville  road  without  meeting  his  provision- 
trains,  for  Sheridan's  advance-guard  had  sent  them  all 
back  down  the  line. 

The  gray  men  were  hungry  and  muddy  and  weary,  but 
they  were  unconquerable  of  spirit.  They  continued  their 
flight,  and  Grant's  pursuing  columns  pushed  forward  once 
again  to  intercept  them  or  bring  them  to  bay.  They 
marched  on  into  the  night,  although  they  had  been  a  week 
without  rest. 

306  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

At  Farmville  the  chief  entered  the  tavern,  scarcely  yet 
emptied  of  its  Confederate  guests  of  the  night  before.  He 
was  satisfied  the  fight  was  out  of  Lee's  army,  and  so 
opened  correspondence  with  Lee,  who  was  only  a  few 
miles  away.  He  conveyed  to  Lee  his  opinion  that  further 
struggle  was  a  wanton  waste  of  life,  and  called  for  the 
surrender  of  the  Confederate  troops  under  his  command. 
The  great  net  was  spread  and  closing  around  the  remnants 
of  Lee's  disorganized  army.  Sheridan,  with  Ord,  had 
pushed  on  to  the  front  with  tremendous  celerity,  pausing 
scarcely  to  eat  or  sleep,  and  was  closing  in  on  the  Confed 
erate  front.  Meade  was  holding  the  rear  ranks  securely, 
and  Grant  himself  was  directing  Humphreys  in  his  pressure 
against  Lee's  immediate  command.  His  orders  to  Ord  and 
Sheridan  were  vigorous  and  jubilant. 

After  writing  his  letter  to  Lee,  Grant  strolled  about  the 
village  a  little,  and  then  went  back  to  the  tavern.  He  was 
not  at  all  well.  A  derangement  of  the  stomach,  combined 
with  the  intense  nervous  strain  of  the  week's  fighting  and 
pursuit,  had  given  him  a  blinding  headache.  As  the  night 
fell  he  sat  on  the  little  piazza,  of  the  inn,  leaning  over  the 
rail,  and  gazing  over  and  beyond  the  marching  troops 
whose  endless  stream  filled  the  streets. 

He  was  at  his  greatest  that  night,  absorbed,  intent,  re 
lentless,  his  face  set  like  granite.  His  staff  stood  apart 
from  him,  almost  in  awe.  "  Oh,  what  a  night  that  was!" 
exclaimed  Colonel  Webster.  "  The  '  old  man '  was  wonder 
ful."  Occasionally  some  officer  in  the  passing  troops  would 
recognize  the  somber,  dreaming  face  above  the  railing,  and 
his  salute  would  start  a  roaring  cheer  among  the  men. 
But  the  chief  gave  no  sign  of  approval  or  disapproval.  He 
did  not  seem  to  hear  the  salute.  He  was  exteriorly  with 
out  evidence  of  pride  or  exultation.  He  showed  no  anxiety 
either,  but  he  was  in  deep  thought.  He  knew  the  pursuit 
must  end  soon,  for  he  was  marching  away  from  his  sup 
plies,  whereas  Lee  was  marching  toward  his  strongholds 
and  his  granaries.  Should  the  pursuit  last  three  days 
longer,  the  Union  forces  must  halt  and  feed  themselves. 

But  the  swift  and  sturdy  Sheridan  had  reported  himself 
and  his  forces  at  last  directly  in  Lee's  advance,  and  de- 

THE    BEGINNING   OF   THE    END  307 

serters  had  informed  him,  also,  how  desperate  was  the 
situation  of  the  Confederate  forces.  It  was  impossible  for 
Lee  to  escape ;  his  campaigns  were  ended.  Sheridan  was 
as  sleepless  as  his  chief;  nothing  escaped  him.  Lee's 
precious  supply-trains  were  turned  back  or  destroyed. 
Every  advancing  column  of  gray  found  every  lane  filled 
with  Union  cavalry. 

And  yet,  when  Grant's  letter  came  to  Lee  he  could  not 
bring  himself  to  surrender.  He  played  a  double  game. 
He  approached  the  disingenuous  in  his  reply.  He  played 
for  time  by  asking  the  terms  of  surrender,  and  suggested 
a  meeting  to  decide  upon  terms. 

To  his  letter  Grant  replied,  while  still  at  Farmville : 
"  Peace  being  my  greatest  desire,  there  is  but  one  condi 
tion  I  would  insist  upon;  namely,  that  men  and  officers 
surrendered  shall  be  disqualified  from  taking  up  arms 
against  the  United  States  until  properly  exchanged." 

Though  Grant  believed  Lee  to  be  meditating  surrender, 
and  though  he  sent  such  word  to  Sheridan,  he  neglected 
no  precaution.  "  We  will  push  him  until  the  terms  are 
agreed  upon,"  he  added  to  Sheridan,  who  said,  in  reply: 
"  If  General  Gibbon  and  the  Fifth  Corps  get  up  to-night, 
we  will  perhaps  finish  the  job  in  the  morning.  I  do  not 
think  that  Lee  means  to  surrender  until  compelled  to  do  so." 

That  night  General  Grant  stayed  at  a  farm-house.  He 
was  suffering  increased  pain.  His  hard  week's  campaign 
ing,  the  intense  anxiety  and  sleepless  mental  activity,  had 
told  upon  him.  He  was  a  very  injudicious  eater,  and  his 
stomach  was  his  weak  point.  He  ate  very  little, — too 
little,  in  fact, — but  he  was  quite  as  apt  to  eat  pickles  and 
cake,  mingled  with  cream  and  vinegar  and  lettuce,  as  he 
was  to  take  more  wholesome  foods.  If  his  wife  cried  out 
against  it,  he  merely  smiled  and  said :  "  Let  them  fight  it 
out  down  there."  Such  lack  of  care  had  often  brought 
about  indigestion ;  and  now,  when  he  was  most  needed, 
when  he  was  at  the  most  critical  point  of  this  pursuit,  he 
was  forced  to  go  to  bed  with  mustard-plasters  on  his  wrist 
and  at  the  base  of  his  brain. 

But  he  was  by  no  means  out  of  the  fight.  Sick  as  he 
was,  he  was  not  to  be  caught  napping  by  Lee's  second 

308  LIFE   OF    GRANT 

letter,  in  which  he  said,  "  To  be  frank,  I  don't  think  the 
emergency  has  arisen  to  call  for  the  surrender  of  this 
army,"  but  added  that  he  would  be  pleased  to  meet  Gen 
eral  Grant  at  10  A.  M. 

Grant  replied : 


I  have  no  authority  to  treat  on  the  subject  of  peace.  The 
meeting  proposed  for  10  A.  M.  to-day  would  do  no  good.  ...  I 
will  state,  however,  general,  that  I  am  equally  anxious  for  peace 
with  yourself,  and  the  whole  North  entertains  the  same  feeling. 
The  terms  upon  which  peace  can  be  had  are  well  understood ; 
by  the  South  laying  down  their  arms  they  will  hasten  that  most 
desirable  event,  save  thousands  of  human  lives  and  hundreds  and 
hundreds  of  millions  of  property  not  yet  destroyed.  Sincerely 
hoping  that  all  our  difficulties  may  be  settled  without  the  loss  of 
another  life,  etc. 

This  letter,  confused  and  inelegant  as  it  was,  conveyed 
a  most  sincere  and  humane  desire  to  avoid  further  fight 
ing,  and  was  not  without  adroitness.  It  conveyed  to  Lee 
the  inflexible  purpose  of  its  writer.  Any  further  bloodshed 
was  certainly  to  be  laid  to  Lee's  own  selfish  pride.  There 
was  but  one  thing  to  be  done — to  bow  the  head  to  the  will 
of  the  God  of  progress. 

Lee  called  a  council  of  war  that  night,  the  8th  of  April, 
and  read  the  correspondence  of  General  Grant.  Around 
the  camp-fire  gathered  the  members  of  his  staff,  including 
Generals  Longstreet,  Fitzhugh  Lee,  and  Gordon.  There 
Lee  presented  the  situation  quietly,  somberly,  and  dispas 
sionately.  He  said :  "  I  am  averse  to  surrendering,  but 
the  situation  demands  it.  It  cannot  be  avoided.  My  de 
sire  is  now  to  avoid  any  further  bloodshed." 

Some  of  the  younger  men  of  the  council  did  not  share 
the  depth  of  his  discouragement,  and  after  some  delibera 
tion  General  Gordon  was  selected  to  lead  a  desperate  as 
sault  on  Sheridan's  cavalry  and  open  a  way  of  escape.  It 
was  a  forlorn  hope,  but  it  put  off  the  hour  of  surrender,  and 
with  some  reluctance  Lee  assented,  even  though  his  letters 
to  Grant  had  conveyed  a  different  intention. 

"Do  you  think  you  can  cut  your  way  through?"  he 

U.  S.  Grant  early  in  1865,  near  the  close  of  the  war,  age  43  years. 
From  a  spoiled  negative. 

THE    BEGINNING   OF   THE    END  309 

"  Yes,"  replied  Gordon  ;  "  I  can  force  a  passage  through 
any  number  of  cavalry." 

This  assault  took  place ;  but  when  General  Gordon  was 
congratulating  himself  that  he  was  making  way,  the  cavalry 
suddenly  parted  in  the  middle  and  rolled  back  like  a  cur 
tain,  and  there,  ranked,  ready,  and  menacing,  stood  the 
Army  of  the  James,  under  command  of  Ord,  a  wall  of  blue 
with  a  crest  of  steel,  impenetrable  and  insuperable. 

The  worn,  hungry,  muddy,  and  desperate  men  in  gray 
grounded  their  arms,  and  looked  at  one  another  in  silence. 
Grant's  army  had  outmarched  them  on  longer  lines — had 
surrounded  them.  The  flag  of  truce  must  go  up  now,  or 
the  Army  of  Northern  Virginia  break  up  in  tumbled  heaps 
on  a  bloody  field. 

Gordon  sent  a  despairing  despatch  to  General  Lee,  say 
ing:  "  Unless  Longstreet  comes  up  at  once,  all  is  lost." 

Lee  replied  in  a  singular  note,  saying :  "  There  is  a  flag 
of  truce  in  existence  between  me  and  General  Grant.  You 
can  take  vour  own  course  about  notifying  the  officer  in 
command  of  the  forces  on  your  front," — by  which  it  would 
seem  he  had  ceased  to  send  direct  orders  to  General 

Meanwhile  General  Grant  had  received  word  from  the 
Confederate  general-in-chief  expressing  willingness  to  treat 
for  surrender.  This  word  cured  Grant  of  his  sick-headache 
at  once.  He  threw  it  off  as  quickly  as  he  might  have 
thrown  off  his  hat,  and  hastened  to  the  front.  He  found 
Sheridan's  troops  drawn  up  in  line  of  battle  and  facing  the 
enemy  near  by.  The  men  were  deeply  excited,  and  the 
subordinate  officers  were  riding  to  and  fro  wildly.  Men  and 
officers  alike  wanted  to  go  in  and  finish  the  business  right 
then,  for  they  feared  the  truce  to  be  a  mere  trick  to  gain 

Grant  had  greater  reason  than  any  of  them  knew  to  be 
lieve  it  a  trick,  but  he  was  too  sure  of  his  power  to  refuse 
this  chance.  He  rode  through  the  lines  toward  the 
enemy,  and  on  to  the  place  where  the  Confederate  leader 
was  waiting  to  meet  him.  Lee,  accompanied  by  Colonel 
Marshall  of  his  staff,  had  been  seated  for  some  time  in  a 
near-by  farm-house,  a  plain  brick  cottage  with  a  veranda. 


It  was  owned  by  a  man  named  McLean,  who  was  walk 
ing  distractedly  about,  dazed  and  helpless  with  the  sudden 
weight  of  war  which  was  thrust  upon  him. 

When  General  Grant  entered,  the  room  was  partly  filled 
by  his  own  officers ;  but  on  one  side  of  the  room  General 
Lee  sat  in  silence,  with  Colonel  Marshall,  his  secretary, 
near  him.  General  Lee's  face  was  pale,  but  impassible. 
What  his  thoughts  were  no  one  could  tell.  He  looked 
like  a  man  who  had  failed  of  a  high  purpose,  but  accepted 
his  failure  with  philosophic  resignation.  He  was  clad  in 
a  new  suit,  and  looked  like  an  officer  prepared  for  grand 
review.  His  sword,  gloves,  boots,  all  showed  great  care 
and  good  taste.  His  gray  full  beard  was  trimmed  and  his 
hair  in  perfect  order.  He  had  in  him  something  of  the  old 
cavalier,  who  met  death  well-ordered  and  debonair. 

General  Grant,  without  pausing,  walked  directly  toward 
him,  and  Lee  rose,  and  the  two  men  shook  hands.  Grant 
spoke  of  the  Mexican  War,  and  of  the  curious  fact  that  he 
had  not  seen  General  Lee  since  that  time. 

As  they  stood  talking  thus,  Grant's  officers  looked  at 
each  other  significantly.  Their  chief  was  a  most  violent 
contrast  to  the  Southern  leader.  He  was  considerably 
shorter,  and  his  bearing  quite  unmilitary.  He  was  splashed 
with  mud,  and  his  trousers  were  tucked  into  his  boots. 
He  wore  the  uniform  of  a  private  soldier,  with  the  straps 
of  lieutenant-general  sewed  to  the  shoulders.  He  was 
haggard  from  his  recent  illness  and  the  strain  of  a  week's 
hard  riding.  He  needed  the  testimony  of  all  his  sub 
ordinates  to  verify  his  identity  with  the  "  remorseless 
Hun"  and  the  "scientific  Alaric  "  of  the  Southern  press. 
Without  doubt,  Lee  was  amazed,  but  his  face,  almost  as 
sphinx-like  as  Grant's,  gave  no  outward  sign. 

The  most  marked  expression  of  General  Grant  was  his 
kindness.  His  reluctance  to  introduce  the  distressing  pur 
pose  of  the  meeting  was  evident.  He  conveyed  by  his 
whole  manner  such  delicacy  of  sympathy,  and  such  marked 
desire  not  to  humiliate  his  late  foes  unnecessarily,  that 
one  of  his  subordinates  asked  of  another:  "Who  's  sur 
rendering  here,  anyhow?"  Grant  himself  said:  "I  had 
been  quite  jubilant  on  the  receipt  of  General  Lee's  letter  " ; 


but  he  was  now  sad,  out  of  the  kindness  and  almost  wo 
manly  sympathy  of  his  nature.  He  was  eager  to  finish  up 
the  surrender  in  such  wise  as  not  to  add  to  the  painful 
dejection  of  the  Southern  men. 

"  The  conversation  grew  so  pleasant  that  he  almost  for 
got  the  object  of  the  meeting."  General  Lee  called  his 
attention  to  the  purpose  of  their  coming  together,  which 
was  to  get  from  General  Grant  the  terms  he  proposed  to 
give  to  the  Southern  army.  He  suggested  that  the  terms 
be  reduced  to  writing. 

General  Grant  then  called  Colonel  Ely  Parker  of  his 
staff,  and  asked  him  to  bring  a  small  table  which  stood  at 
the  opposite  side  of  the  room.  This  was  done,  and  Gen 
eral  Grant  then  wrote  in  pencil  the  terms  of  the  surrender, 
and  took  it  to  General  Lee,  who  remained  seated.  Thus 
the  victor  went  to  the  vanquished  in  the  manner  of  a  con 
siderate  younger  man.  There  was  no  thought  of  military 
etiquette  in  his  mind. 

In  the  final  paragraph  of  this  first  draft  was  written  these 
words :  "  The  arms,  artillery,  and  public  property  to  be 
parked  and  stacked  and  turned  over  to  the  officer  appointed 
by  me  to  receive  them.  This  will  not  embrace  the  side- 
arms  of  the  officers,  nor  their  private  horses  or  baggage. 
This  done,  each  officer  and  man  will  be  allowed  to  return 
to  their  homes,  not  to  be  disturbed  by  the  United  States 
authority  so  long  as  they  observe  their  parole  and  the  laws 
in  force  where  they  reside." 

General  Lee,  reading  this  simple,  direct,  and  kindly 
letter,  seemed  moved  by  its  generosity,  and  said :  "  This 
will  have  a  most  happy  effect  upon  my  army."  He  re 
ferred  particularly  to  the  part  covering  the  release  of  all 
claim  upon  the  horses  of  the  cavalrymen,  which  were  the 
private  property  of  their  riders.  By  the  generous  fore 
sight  of  General  Grant,  they  could  now  ride  their  horses 
back  to  their  farms,  and  use  them  in  their  spring  work. 

The  terms  of  the  letter  having  been  agreed  upon,  Gen 
eral  Grant  directed  Colonel  Parker,  a  member  of  his  staff, 
to  make  a  copy  of  it  in  ink.  While  this  was  being  done 
he  turned  to  General  Sheridan  and  said :  "  General  Sheri 
dan,  General  Lee  tells  me  that  he  has  some  twelve  thou- 

312  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

sand  of  our  people  prisoners,  who  are  sharing  with  the 
men,  and  that  none  of  them  have  anything  to  eat.  How 
many  rations  can  you  spare?" 

Sheridan  replied:  "  About  twenty-five  thousand." 

Grant  turned  to  Lee.  "  General  Lee,  will  that  be 
enough?  " 

"  More  than  enough,"  replied  Lee. 

"  Very  well.  General  Sheridan,  direct  your  commissary 
to  send  twenty-five  thousand  rations  to  General  Lee's 

When  the  letters  had  been  copied  in  ink,  and  signed, 
the  two  men  rose,  and  a  little  general  conversation  again 
took  place,  in  the  course  of  which  General  Grant  apolo 
gized  for  his  dress,  remarking  that  his  wagons  were  behind, 
and  that  he  had  not  wished  to  detain  General  Lee  while 
he  sent  back  for  them.  General  Lee  seemed  to  accept 
this  in  the  spirit  in  which  it  was  spoken,  and  the  two 
leaders  shook  hands  and  parted. 

As  Lee  passed  out  Grant's  aides  respectfully  rose.  Lee 
did  not  appear  to  notice  them.  As  he  stood  on  the  steps 
waiting  for  his  horse,  he  looked  away  for  an  instant  over 
the  green  valley,  and  "  smote  his  hands  together  again  and 
again  in  an  absent  and  despairing  way."  When  his  horse 
came  up  he  mounted  and  returned  to  his  lines. 

Far  back  in  the  Western  town  of  Galena,  in  1861,  an 
obscure  country  editor  had  said  of  a  still  more  obscure 
citizen  of  his  town :  "  A  magnanimous  man  like  Captain 
Grant  can  put  down  this  Rebellion ;  vindictive  men  never 
can."  And  here,  now,  on  his  own  responsibility,  in  the 
glow  of  a  natural  impulse  of  his  considerate  and  forgiving 
nature,  Lieutenant-General  Grant  gave  terms  which  melted 
the  hard  hearts  of  thousands  of  men  and  women  to  whom 
he  had  been  a  destroying,  invading  Hun,  and  when  Lee 
met  him  the  following  morning  he  spoke  feelingly  of  the 
profound  impression  made  upon  his  army.  "  The  entire 
South  will  respond  to  your  clemency,"  he  said. 

Every  order  issued  thereafter  by  General  Grant  was  in 
accordance  with  the  spirit  of  his  terms  to  Lee.  He  ad 
vised  against  all  signs  of  exultation ;  for  the  war  is 
ended,  he  said,  and  Lee  and  his  men  are  fellow-citizens 


of  the  same  nation,  and  not  to  be  humiliated.  His  old 
classmates  and  comrades  in  the  Mexican  War  came  that 
night  to  thank  him  for  his  courtesy. 

He  met  them  as  if  nothing  had  happened,  and,  hooking 
his  arm  in  that  of  General  Longstreet,  and  calling  him  by 
his  old  army  nickname,  he  said  with  a  gentle,  half-sorrow 
ful  cadence  in  his  voice :  "  Pete,  let  's  return  to  the  happy 
old  days  by  playing  a  game  of  '  brag.' ' 

He  began  right  there  on  the  field  of  Appomattox  the 
work  of  reconstruction.  As  after  Fort  Henry  he  moved 
on  Donelson,  and  from  Vicksburg  on  Chattanooga,  so  now 
his  restless  brain  was  filled  with  plans,  not  to  conquer 
other  cities,  but  to  end  the  war,  to  reduce  expenses,  to 
disband  the  army,  and  to  go  home.  He  felt  sure  John 
ston  would  surrender  to  Sherman  at  once.  He  could  trust 
Sherman  to  look  out  for  that,  and  leaving  Generals  Gib 
bon,  Griffin,  and  Merritt  to  carry  into  effect  the  work  of 
paroling  the  Southern  troops,  he  moved  on  Washington 
and  its  army  of  contractors,  in  the  aim  to  stop  the  purchase 
of  supplies,  to  cut  down  the  army,  to  cancel  the  charter 
of  useless  vessels,  and  to  reduce  the  country  to  the  con 
ditions  of  peace  at  the  earliest  moment. 

As  an  honorable  warrior  he  had  no  fear  that  Lee  or  his 
army  would  violate  their  paroles ;  and  knowing  Lincoln's 
support  to  be  his,  he  had  no  fear  of  the  assaults  of  bellig 
erent  Northern  politicians.  His  mind  was  at  ease,  and 
his  face,  seamed  with  lines  of  care,  smoothed  out;  his 
thought  ran  swiftly  to  meet  his  wife  and  children. 

"  Are  you  not  going  into  Richmond?  "  a  friend  said. 

''No;  I  have  about  a  day's  work  in  Washington,  and 
then  I  am  going  on  to  New  Jersey  to  see  my  children," 
he  replied. 

Accompanied  by  his  staff,  of  which  Rawlins  was  chief, 
the  general  took  the  train  for  City  Point.  His  announce 
ment  of  victory  to  the  War  Department  was  a  telegram 
of  only  five  or  six  lines,  but  it  set  the  North  aflame  with 
joy.  "  The  war  is  over ;  our  boys  are  coming  home ! "  the 
people  said;  and  added:  "God  bless  General  Grant! 
His  name  lent  itself  to  pleasant  puns,  such  as,  "  He 
Grants  us  peace."  It  had  a  long  train  of  heroic  memories 

314  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

now.  There  was  but  one  man  who  stood  on  his  plane  at 
this  time,  and  that  was  Abraham  Lincoln,  another  self- 
made  man  of  the  West. 

It  was  late  at  night,  or,  rather,  early  in  the  morning,  when 
the  general  entered  the  office  at  headquarters  at  City 
Point.  There  were  but  two  or  three  of  his  staff  present 
as  he  took  a  seat  at  his  table.  After  writing  a  few  min 
utes,  he  looked  up  smilingly,  and  said  half-musingly,  not 
addressing  anybody  in  particular,  "  More  of  Grant's  luck." 

He  finished  a  despatch  to  Sherman  announcing  the 
victory,  then  rose  with  these  significant  words,  spoken  as 
if  they  announced  the  beginning  of  a  new  campaign : 
"  Now  for  Mexico." 



E;AVING  City  Point,  Grant  proceeded  directly  to 
Washington,  arriving  there  on  the  evening  of  the 
1 3th.  The  city  was  ablaze  with  enthusiasm  over  the  re 
port  of  the  surrender  of  Lee.  Bands  of  employees  from 
the  navy-yard  and  from  other  public  buildings  formed  in 
procession  and  went  about  the  streets  singing  jubilant 
songs.  The  city  flamed  forth  with  illuminations  and 
blossomed  with  flags.  The  name  of  Grant  became  at 
once  the  sign  and  signal  for  the  wildest  applause.  Every 
body  was  in  the  streets. 

In  the  midst  of  all  this  General  Grant  himself  arrived  in 
his  characteristic  way.  He  slipped  into  Willard's  Hotel, 
and  registered,  not  knowing,  apparently,  that  the  city  was 
frantic  to  do  him  honor.  In  fact,  few  people  knew  that 
he  was  present  until  the  following  morning,  when  the 
notice  of  his  arrival  appeared  in  the  papers.  He  paid  no 
attention  to  the  crowd,  to  the  demands  made  upon  him 
for  speeches,  but  set  busily  to  work  upon  plans  of  needed 
retrenchment.  In  his  estimation,  the  war  was  over,  and 
the  burdens  of  the  people  should  be  lightened.  All  of  his 
orders  were  of  this  tendency.  He  stopped  the  further 
manufacture  of  arms,  discharged  convalescent  soldiers, 
canceled  the  charter  of  needless  vessels,  and  cut  down  the 
bills  for  supplies.  He  spent  a  very  busy  day  with  these 
details,  working  very  hard,  for  the  reason  that  he  was 
eager  to  accompany  Mrs.  Grant  to  Burlington,  New 
Jersey,  where  his  eldest  children  were.  He  refused,  also, 


316  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

an  invitation  from  President  Lincoln  to  attend  the  theater 
with  him  that  night,  and  late  in  the  evening  left  on  the 
Baltimore  and  Ohio  road  for  Philadelphia. 

He  was  about  taking  the  train  at  Camden  for  Burling 
ton,  late  that  night,  when  a  despatch  was  handed  him 
which  conveyed  the  appalling  news :  "  The  President  has 
been  assassinated.  Return  at  once."  Washington  was 
panic-stricken.  It  wished  to  be  assured  that  General 
Grant  lived,  and  it  needed  his  presence  at  the  seat  of 
government.  Lincoln  had  been  shot  and  killed  while 
seated  in  his  box  at  Ford's  Theater.  An  assault  had  been 
made  upon  Secretary  of  State  Seward,  and  it  was  feared 
that  the  plot  included  also  the  assassination  of  General 
Grant.  The  general  returned  to  Washington  by  special 
train,  and  the  country  drew  a  deep  breath  of  relief.  His 
steady  and  powerful  hand  was  once  more  upon  the 
machinery  of  the  War  Department. 

The  assassination  of  Abraham  Lincoln,  calamitous  as  it 
was,  had,  after  all,  but  small  influence  on  the  war.  It  did  not 
cripple  or  disarrange  or  confuse  or  bewilder  military  affairs. 
Sherman  in  the  field  was  about  to  conclude  terms  of  sur 
render  with  Joseph  E.  Johnston.  He  put  the  despatch 
announcing  the  death  of  Lincoln  into  his  pocket,  and 
passed  on  to  meet  his  conquered  foe.  At  Appomattox 
the  paroling  officers  proceeded  to  execute  General  Grant's 
orders  with  regard  to  Lee's  captured  army.  The  pursuit 
of  General  Kirby  Smith  in  the  West  did  not  falter.  Every 
order  issued  by  the  lieutenant-general  of  the  armies  of  the 
United  States  went  forward  to  execution  inflexibly. 

So  in  the  nation  at  large  the  business  and  necessary 
daily  duties  of  men,  interrupted  for  a  moment,  resumed 
their  course  as  a  great  river  rolls  on  over  a  sunken  ship. 
Lincoln,  who  seemed  so  colossal,  so  necessary,  ceased  to 
be  a  moving  factor  in  the  affairs  of  state,  but  his  gentle 
and  gracious  spirit  lived  in  the  mind  of  General  Sherman 
and  General  Grant.  Had  Grant  perished  with  Lincoln, 
the  nation  might  have  been  thrown  into  mad  confusion; 
but  when  the  people  learned  that  General  Grant  was  safe, 
and  had  returned  to  Washington,  all  danger  of  a  panic 

THE    GRAND    REVIEW  '317 

Not  only  was  General  Grant  unshakable  in  his  resolution 
to  do  his  duty  as  a  warrior,  but  he  was  also  immovable  by 
the  excited  Stanton  and  Halleck.  With  his  steady  fingers 
on  the  keys  controlling  the  armies  of  the  United  States, 
he  sat  in  silence,  self-contained  and  unangered,  while  the 
excitables  around  him  cried  out  for  revenge.  He  never 
for  an  hour  relaxed  his  hold  on  the  military  details  of  his 
office,  and  he  never  forgot  the  needs  of  Mexico  for  a  sin 
gle  day.  Nothing  could  confuse  or  bewilder  him,  and 
every  day  made  it  increasingly  evident  that  he  was  the 
chief  man  of  the  nation,  now  that  Abraham  Lincoln  had 
passed  away ;  and  when  he  sat  at  the  head  of  the  coffin, 
swart,  compact,  grim-visaged,  with  lips  quivering  with 
emotion,  he  was  considered  to  be  in  his  place  as  chief 
representative  of  the  policy  of  the  dead  man  before  him. 

Now  arose  severe  criticisms  upon  the  terms  granted  to 
Johnston  by  Sherman,  who  had  carried  out,  as  Grant  well 
knew,  the  spirit  of  the  martyred  President.  Sherman's 
terms  to  Johnston  were  plainly  marked,  "  Provisional,"  and 
were  subject  to  the  approval  of  the  government ;  but "  they 
came  a  week  too  late  or  a  month  too  early."  They  came 
to  Washington  at  a  time  when  the  War  Department  was 
disposed  to  be  very  severe.  In  the  wild  rage  and  bitter 
ness  which  followed  the  assassination,  Stanton  seemed  to 
forget  the  mighty  work  which  this  man  Sherman  had  done 
for  the  nation,  and  fell  upon  him  with  the  severest  public 
condemnation,  going  so  far  as  to  accuse  him  of  treason — 
of  exceeding  his  authority  because  of  his  sympathy  with 
the  South. 

Sherman,  not  having  Grant's  self- repressive  and  patient 
character,  hotly  replied  to  his  critics,  thereby  increasing 
their  clamor.  Stanton  made  public  matters  which  were 
departmental  secrets,  in  order  to  strengthen  his  case. 
General  Grant  took  Sherman's  part,  and  when  he  took  a 
man's  part  it  meant  something.  His  face  flushed  and  his 
hands  clenched  as  he  read  Stanton's  public  censure  of 
Sherman.  "It  is  infamous — infamous!"  he  said.  He 
insisted  that  Sherman  be  allowed  to  explain,  that  it  was 
unsafe  to  condemn  a  man  upon  so  brief  a  report,  especially 
a  man  like  Sherman. 

318  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

The  department  ordered  General  Grant  to  proceed  to 
the  front  and  take  charge  of  Sherman's  army  and  the 
negotiations  for  surrender  with  Johnston,  and  so  it  hap 
pened  that  while  the  mighty  funeral  pageant  of  Lincoln 
was  winding  its  slow  way  to  the  West,  Grant  started 
secretly  to  the  front,  and  came  suddenly  and  unexpectedly 
into  Sherman's  camp  at  Raleigh. 

The  lamentations  and  forebodings  of  the  army  over  the 
death  of  Lincoln  and  its  effect  upon  the  nation  gave  place 
to  confidence  and  joy  when  they  knew  their  old  com 
mander  was  among  them.  A  review  was  in  progress,  and 
a  hasty  change  was  made  in  order  that  the  splendid  col 
umns  of  the  old  Seventeenth  Army-Corps  might  pass  be 
fore  the  "  old  man."  It  contained  McPherson's  veterans, 
and  Grant  held  it  in  peculiar  regard.  He  could  hardly 
speak  of  the  untimely  death  of  its  brilliant  young  com 
mander  even  then  without  tears.  The  whole  army  broke 
out  in  cheers  and  rejoicing  wherever  Grant  appeared. 

Though  sent  by  the  War  Department  to  assume  di 
rection  of  Sherman's  affairs,  the  chief  kept  in  the  back 
ground,  and  did  not  allow  General  Johnston  to  know  of 
his  presence  till  Sherman  had  conducted  the  terms  of  sur 
render  to  a  finish.  Grant  loved  Sherman  above  even 
Sheridan,  and  would  have  resigned  his  commission  rather 
than  humiliate  him.  To  the  army  he  was  only  a  visitor ; 
to  Sherman  he  was  a  friend,  and  the  gentlest  and  most 
considerate  superior  officer  ever  sent  on  an  errand  of  re 
proof.  It  cooled  Sherman's  hot  heart  and  moistened  his 
eyes  with  tears  to  be  met  in  such  gentle  and  considerate 

Leaving  orders  for  the  army  under  Sherman  to  set  their 
faces  on  a  long  homeward  march,  Grant  returned  to  Wash 
ington,  where  his  presence  was  sorely  needed  in  the  mul 
titudinous  duties  incident  upon  the  disbanding  of  the 
armies  and  the  closing  up  of  the  army  contracts  and  requisi 
tions.  He  was  warned  of  his  personal  danger,  but  gave 
little  heed  to  it.  He  came  and  went  quietly  and  without 
guard,  and  his  sturdy  figure  and  grave,  intent  face  were 
always  welcome  sights  to  the  citizens.  The  whole  nation 
felt  easier  to  know  he  was  again  at  headquarters.  Later 

THE    GRAND    REVIEW  319 

developments  with  regard  to  General  Sherman's  case 
proved  conclusively  that  Grant  was  right.  Sherman  had 
not  betrayed  his  trust  in  the  provisional  treaty  with  Gen 
eral  Johnston,  and  was  completely  vindicated  as  soon  as* 
his  case  was  stated. 

Soon  after  he  returned,  Grant  called  Sheridan  to  his 
headquarters,  and  gave  him  secret  instructions  to  proceed 
to  Texas,  to  have  an  eye  on  the  French  forces  in  Mexico. 
"  If  necessary,  I  will  put  you  at  the  head  of  a  corps  to  join 
Juarez,  and  force  Maximilian  to  withdraw.  We  cannot 
permit  the  establishment  of  a  monarchy  in  Mexican  soil." 
He  went  so  far  as  to  urge  upon  Johnson  the  immediate 
invasion  of  Mexico.  He  hated  Napoleon  and  all  he  stood 
for,  and  would  have  swept  Maximilian  and  his  forces  from 
American  territory,  had  not  Seward  assured  him  it  could 
be  done  by  diplomacy.  He  considered  the  active  coop 
eration  of  the  French  forces  with  the  Confederate  troops 
on  the  Rio  Grande  a  just  cause  for  war. 

Just  a  little  over  one  month  after  Lincoln's  death,  on  the 
seventeenth  day  of  May,  an  order  for  a  grand  review  was 
sent  out  by  the  adjutant-general.  The  last  gun  had  been 
fired  far  out  on  the  Rio  Grande ;  Grant's  troops  were 
moving  on  Washington  now,  peacefully  sweeping  across 
Virginia,  singing  songs  of  God's  country,  longing  to  see 
the  dome  of  the  Capitol  loom  up  in  the  Northern  skies. 
No  words,  nothing  but  song,  could  utter  the  exultation  of 
their  hearts.  The  war  was  over,  it  was  spring,  and  they 
were  going  home — home  to  wives  and  sweethearts  and 
gray-haired  fathers  and  mothers,  home  to  square  meals, 
and  beds,  and  familiar  hills  and  brooks  and  meadows ;  so 
they  marched  on,  well-nigh  mad  with  impatience  at  delay. 
The  armies  of  Sheridan  and  Meade  were  already  camped 
beside  the  Potomac,  and  soon  Sherman's  men  would  be 

Meanwhile  in  Washington  the  people  were  planning  for 
the  great  day.  Train-loads  of  the  relatives  of  the  soldiers 
began  to  pour  into  the  city  and  to  swarm  out  to  the 
encampment.  Every  hotel  was  filled  even  to  the  corridors 
with  cot-beds  and  mattresses,  and  there  were  homeless 
enthusiasts  who  hired  street-cars  in  which  to  sit  out  the 

320  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

night.  The  newspapers  teemed  with  descriptions  of  the 
camp,  of  the  bugle-calls,  the  drum-beats,  the  rumbling  of 
cannon,  the  movement  of  commissary  wagons,  and  all  the 
complex  and  picturesque  accompaniments  of  an  enormous 
army.  Parallels  were  adduced.  This  army  assembling 
for  review,  said  the  correspondents,  was  greater  than 
Napoleon's,  Cromwell's,  and  Caesar's  combined.  Crom 
well's  armies  would  scarcely  make  a  detail  of  Sherman's 
command,  and  Caesar's  forces  when  he  conquered  the 
world  were  less  than  one  wing  of  the  Army  of  the 

In  the  midst  of  all  this  mighty  preparation,  this  move 
ment  of  cannon  and  cavalry,  in  the  midst  of  galloping 
aides  and  superbly  mounted  generals  and  colonels  and 
their  aides,  the  chief  was  hardly  to  be  seen.  He  sat  in 
his  office,  bent  above  papers,  figures,  calculations,  and 
reports,  planning  the  reorganization  of  the  army  and  the 
redistribution  of  troops  in  the  South  and  West.  He  was 
like  a  great  merchant  absorbed  in  daily  duties,  and  no  one 
seemed  to  have  less  part  in  the  pageantry  preparing  than 
General  Grant. 

The  twenty-third  day  of  May  dawned  in  clouds,  but 
cleared  away  into  a  beautiful  day  before  the  hour  set  for 
the  review.  The  trees  were  heavy  with  leaf,  the  sun  warm, 
the  blue  sky  filled  with  rolling  fragments  of  clouds.  Be 
fore  the  White  House  a  reviewing-stand  had  been  erected, 
and  thereon  President  Johnson  and  his  party  took  their 
place  just  before  nine  o'clock.  The  President  sat  in  the 
center.  On  his  right  sat  General  Grant  and  Secretary 
Stanton,  and  on  his  left  were  places  reserved  for  Generals 
Sherman,  Meade,  and  other  officers  of  high  rank.  Around 
were  billows  of  ladies  in  the  voluminous  hoop-skirts  of  the 
time,  and  flocks  of  pantaletted  little  girls,  and  droves  of 
small  boys  in  caps  and  soldier  blouses.  Flags  fluttered 
everywhere  like  leaves  of  the  aspen,  and  the  buzzing  of 
eager  tongues,  steadily  increasing,  voiced  the  impatience 
of  the  throng:  "Are  they  coming?  Are  they  coming? 
They  must  be  delayed." 

No ;  this  was  a  military  parade.  At  exactly  nine 
o'clock  a  single  cannon-shot  boomed  from  some  far  place, 

THE    GRAND    REVIEW  321 

and  down  the  winding  avenue  from  the  Capitol  came  the 
broad  river  of  blue  and  steel.  It  was  the  Army  of  the 
Potomac,  with  General  Meade  at  its  head.  The  escort  of 
cavalry,  seven  miles  in  length,  preceded  the  infantry 
corps.  Sheridan  was  not  there, — he  was  already  on  his 
way  to  the  Mexican  border, — but  General  Merritt,  who 
led  them,  was  cheered  warmly  by  the  throng.  The  troops 
were  worn  and  dusty  and  dingy,  their  faces  bronzed  by 
the  wind  and  sun.  For  nearly  two  hours  these  swift  and 
powerful  warriors  swept  by  the  reviewing-stand,  and  as 
each  regimental  color  came  opposite  him  General  Grant 
arose  and  saluted,  and  every  cavalryman's  eyes  sought 
out  the  face  of  the  commander  whose  word  had  been  his 
absolute  law  for  the  last  year. 

The  Ninth  Corps  of  Infantry  followed,  under  command 
of  General  John  G.  Parke.  The  columns  filled  the  street 
— "  a  Niagara  of  men,"  streaming  by  endlessly,  their  worn 
and  tattered  battle-flags  calling  for  a  cheer  for  the  dead 
as  well  as  for  the  living.  They  came  at  "  right  shoulder 
shift"  in  cadenced  step;  and  as  they  passed  the  chief 
their  burnished  muskets  leaped  to  "  present,"  and  with 
"  eyes  left "  they  passed  the  stand,  many  of  them  looking 
for  the  last  time  upon  their  great  commander.  The  Fifth 
Corps  followed,  led  by  General  Griffin,  marching  in  similar 
form,  streaming  by,  hour  after  hour,  till  the  Army  of  the 
Potomac,  eighty  thousand  strong,  had  marched  on  from 
war  to  peace. 

On  the  next  day  the  "  heroes  of  the  West "  took  up 
their  triumphant  march  before  the  President  and  the  man 
of  Shiloh,  Vicksburg,  and  Chattanooga.  The  interest  in 
these  men  of  the  West  was  intense.  They  were  already 
storied.  They  came  from  strange,  far  countries,  these 
tall,  grim,  dingy,  ragged,  war-worn  soldiers  of  Sherman's 
command ;  they  came  from  the  wonderful  new  States  of 
Wisconsin,  Iowa,  Missouri,  Kansas,  Nebraska,  and  from 
the  older  States  of  Indiana  and  Ohio.  Most  of  them  had 
marched  three  thousand  miles ;  some  of  them  were  said  to 
have  carried  muskets  seven  thousand  miles.  They  had 
desolated  the  Confederacy;  they  had  forced  every  rebel 
flag  to  lower  before  their  faces;  and  now  they  came  to 

322  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

see  the  capital  of  their  country  for  the  first  time,  and  to 
enjoy  the  applause  of  their  friends. 

General  Sherman  himself  led  his  hosts,  erect,  sinewy, 
bronzed  of  skin,  and  restless  and  haughty  of  eye.  He 
had  the  poise  and  action  of  an  eagle  about  to  take  wing. 
His  face  expressed  pride  and  pleasure,  but  more  of 
aggressive  combativeness  was  there.  He  had  not  for 
gotten  the  insults  and  injuries  placed  upon  him  by  the 
War  Department  at  a  time  when  its  secretary  should 
have  been  most  grateful. 

Beside  him  rode  General  Howard,  with  one  empty  sleeve 
pinned  to  his  breast.  General  Logan,  who  had  been  with 
Grant  almost  from  the  first,  followed  on  a  magnificent  horse, 
his  long  black  hair  and  sweeping  mustache  realizing  the 
Eastern  ideal  of  the  Western  commander.  General  Hooker 
("  Fighting  Joe "),  General  Corse,  and  other  worn  yet 
jubilant  leaders  followed. 

The  rank  and  file  were  not  so  well  dressed  as  the  Army 
of  the  Potomac.  They  marched  with  long,  loping  step, 
not  so  finely  military,  but  which  was  as  characteristic  of 
their  wide  marches  as  the  faded  and  dusty  uniforms  they 
wore.  The  artillery  passed  by  batteries,  six  guns  abreast, 
and  the  heavy  jar  and  sullen  rattle  of  the  ponderous  car 
riages  made  the  pavements  tremble.  The  ambulances  were 
worn,  and  had  many  marks  of  hard  service  and  long  journeys. 
The  old  blood-stained  stretchers,  upon  which  the  wounded 
had  been  carried  to  the  rear  from  the  battle-fields  of  the 
far  West,  were  carried  in  the  line  as  if  for  immediate  use. 

Sherman's  "  bummers  "  were  there,  leading  all  sorts  of 
animals  packed  with  all  sorts  of  articles  to  illustrate  the 
foraging  which  was  a  part  of  their  great  campaign.  Old 
mules,  jackasses,  and  broken-down  horses  carried  goats, 
sheep,  pigs,  fowl,  and  camp  utensils,  to  the  mighty  amuse 
ment  of  the  people  along  the  way.  The  men  moved,  not 
as  an  army  under  review,  but  as  an  army  on  the  march. 
As  the  guns  passed  the  President's  stand,  the  horses  were 
put  into  the  gallop,  and  retired  in  a  cloud  of  dust  with  a 
clamor  of  hoofs  and  a  roar  of  wheels  that  shook  the  earth, 
giving  a  still  further  suggestion  of  the  scenes  through 
which  they  had  passed. 

C  THE   GRAND    REVIEW  323 

In  comparison  with  the  Army  of  the  Potomac,  these 
Western  men  looked  hard.  "  They  were  dingy,  as  if  the 
smoke  of  many  battles  had  dyed  their  garments,  and  the 
dust  and  mud  of  a  dozen  States  had  stained  and  faded 
them.  Their  wool  hats,  well  worn  and  dirty,  gave  them 
a  most  somber  coloring.  The  weather-beaten  condition 
of  the  whole  army  was  brought  out  mercilessly  by  the 
unclouded  splendor  of  the  sun.  There  was  a  look  almost 
fierce  and  sullen  on  nearly  every  face.  There  was  a 
rigidity  of  jaw  and  straightforward  scornfulness  of  eye  in 
every  rank  that  no  observer  could  fail  to  mark.  The  great 
gloomy  masses  marched  as  if  in  silent  contempt  of  all  such 
display,  with  a  bitter,  businesslike  scowl,  as  if  they  might 
be  going  into  battle." 

These  were  they  who  had  brought  victory  at  times 
when  victory  was  most  needed.  These  men,  under  Grant, 
had  won  Vicksburg  when  the  nation  despaired,  and  with 
them  Grant  and  Sherman  had  disenthralled  Chattanooga 
when  an  invasion  seemed  to  threaten.  Under  Sherman, 
they  had  taken  Atlanta,  and  helped  to  elect  Abraham 
Lincoln.  They  were  opportune ;  they  had  always  arrived 
at  the  critical  time.  Well  might  their  shoulders  stoop  and 
their  uniforms  grow  yellow  and  wrinkled.  One  cannot 
carry  trunks  and  extra  uniforms  on  raids  whose  circuit  is 
five  thousand  miles. 

All  day  on  the  23d  and  all  day  on  the  24th  Grant  sat 
at  the  President's  side,  watching  his  soldiers  pass.  He 
seemed  entirely  unconscious  that  he  was  the  center  of 
almost  hysterical  interest.  He  seemed  conscious  only 
that  his  boys  were  passing  by.  Every  time  he  rose  to 
salute  the  regimental  flags,  cheers  uplifted  like  sudden 
bursts  of  music  from  an  orchestra  under  signal  of  a  leader's 
wand.  His  keen  eyes  studied  every  detail  of  the  passing 
men.  He  wished  to  know  the  condition,  not  only  of  the 
commanders,  but  of  the  files.  None  knew  so  well  as  he 
what  these  soldiers  were.  He  had  been  one  of  them. 
They  were  his  neighbors,  he  had  been  their  colonel  and 
brigadier-general  and  major-general,  and  the  intensity  of 
his  scrutiny  seemed  to  indicate  that  he  was  looking  for 
the  men  who  had  gained  his  attention  and  regard  during 

324  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

those  early  days  in  the  West.  During  the  whole  review 
the  expression  of  his  face  was  grave,  almost  sad. 

It  meant  much  to  him,  this  pageant  of  his  old  command. 
McPherson  should  have  been  there,  and  Ransom  and  Smith 
and  many  another  brave  man  of  lesser  rank,  to  make  the 
chief  smile.  He  seldom  spoke  to  any  one,  even  to  the 
officers  of  his  staff,  except  in  recognition  of  some  favored 
regiment  whose  tattered  colors  waved  while  the  "boys" 
broke  into  sudden  convulsive  shouts  at  sight  of  their  old 
commander.  The  Twenty-first  Illinois  should  have  been 
there.  They  could  have  borne  witness  to  the  hard  trials 
of  Colonel  Grant  when  struggling  for  an  opportunity  to 
serve  his  country  as  the  commander  of  a  regiment,  just 
four  years  before. 

Only  once  did  the  general  allow  the  people  more  than 
a  glimpse  of  him  during  this  review.  On  the  evening  of 
the  first  day  he  mounted  his  horse  and  rode  down  the 
avenue.  It  was  a  business  trip,  and  not  intended  in  the 
least  as  a  participation  in  the  display ;  but  it  afforded 
the  people  an  opportunity  to  see  the  general  of  the  armies. 
As  he  rose  to  his  saddle  he  seemed  to  be  transfigured. 
From  the  compact,  inert,  and  meditative  man,  he  became 
the  man  who  had  pursued  Lee  pitilessly  from  Petersburg 
to  Appomattox,  who  could  ride  all  day  and  sleep  on  the 
ground  at  night,  who  had  sent  his  army  whirling  against 
Jackson,  only  to  turn  and  face  Pemberton  the  next  day  at 
Champion's  Hill.  Here  was  the  "  man  on  horseback." 
His  horse  shone  like  burnished  bronze ;  his  uniform  was 
new  and  well  fitting  and  in  perfect  order ;  his  new  sugar- 
loaf  hat  added  to  his  stature ;  and  his  gloved  hands  held 
the  bridle-reins  with  the  careless  ease  of  a  born  horseman. 
He  was  in  the  prime  of  his  life,  and  on  the  topmost  pin 
nacle  of  martial  fame. 

The  crowds  broke  into  thunders  of  greeting  as  he  swept 
by  at  a  swift  gallop,  and  the  noise  of  their  shouting 
announced  his  coming  a  half-mile  in  advance  down  the 
avenue.  For  the  first  time  the  people  of  Washington  had 
seen  General  Grant,  the  soldier,  as  his  men  knew  him  on 
the  field  of  battle. 


HAVING  sent  Sheridan  to  take  care  of  things  on  the 
Mexican  border,  and  having  seen  the  volunteer 
armies  begin  to  disband  and  take  their  way  homeward,* 
the  general  permitted  himself  a  short  furlough.  He  was 
weary  of  war  and  all  the  signs  and  signals  of  war.  He 
was  eager  to  escape  the  sight  of  uniforms  and  great  crowds. 
The  commandant  at  West  Point  having  invited  him  to  be 
present  at  the  close  of  the  academic  year,  he  consented, 
and  on  the  way  visited  New  York  City,  and  permitted 
himself  to  be  lionized  a  bit,  for  the  first  time. 

Nothing  in  human  history  surpasses  the  vivid  contrast 
between  the  arrival  of  the  penniless  and  despondent  ex- 
captain  in  1854,  and  the  return  of  General  Grant,  whose 
fame  had  gone  around  the  world.  In  those  earlier  days  the 
city  knew  no  more  of  him  than  of  one  of  its  street  scaven 
gers.  He  was  considered  a  bit  of  human  driftwood.  Now 
no  cannon  was  loud  enough  of  mouth  to  bid  him  welcome. 
The  city  swarmed  upon  him  with  a  weight  of  numbers 
which  threatened  to  crush  the  life  out  of  his  body. 
"  Grant!  Grant!  Grant!"  were  the  words  which  ran  from 
lip  to  lip  and  from  street  to  street.  The  whole  populace 
roared  a  welcome.  From  the  moment  he  landed  from  the 
train,  multitudes  attended  his  steps,  calling  for  a  speech  at 
every  street  corner;  but  he  only  bowed  and  smiled,  and, 
uttering  not  one  word,  marched  straight  ahead  with  the 
air  of  being  only  a  part  of  the  crowd  itself. 

*  The  plan  by  which  the  troops  were  mustered  out  was  drawn  by  General 
Thomas  M.  Vincent. 


326  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

At  the  Astor  House,  the  same  hotel  where  Simon 
Buckner  had  saved  him  from  eviction  ten  years  before, 
he  now  received  the  officials  of  the  city  and  the  throngs 
of  prominent  citizens  crowding  to  greet  him.  Fifteen 
thousand  people  passed  by  him  and  shook  his  hand.  He 
bore  up  under  this  as  long  as  possible,  although  it  became 
an  intolerable  burden.  When  some  one  asked  him  why 
he  did  not  change  hands,  he  replied :  "  Because  I  want 
one  hand  in  good  condition."  He  met  every  admiring 
remark  with  a  modest  reply.  He  took  no  undue  credit 
to  himself,  and  thought  only  of  the  pleasure  of  others. 
He  said :  "  I  wish  I  could  stay  longer  in  New  York ;  I 
should  like  to  gratify  those  who  wish  to  see  me." 

Among  these  thousands  of  people  there  were  not  want 
ing  some  who  said :  "  I  greet  you  as  our  next  President  "  ; 
but  to  such  indiscreet  ones  he  replied  in  no  wise,  not  so 
much  as  by  the  movement  of  an  eyelash.  To  one  lady 
who  asked  after  his  health  he  said  dryly :  "  It  is  not  very 
good,  but  I  can  ride  all  day  on  horseback  and  sleep  all 
night  on  the  ground  very  easily." 

At  a  great  meeting  which  developed  spontaneously  in 
the  street  before  his  hotel,  nearly  twenty  thousand  people 
lifted  their  voices  in  irresistible  uproar  for  "  Grant ! 
Speech!"  But  when  he  appeared,  the  upturned  faces, 
waving  hats,  and  tossing  arms  of  the  throng  seemed  almost 
to  scare  him.  He  refused  to  speak. 

General  Logan  took  his  place,  and  in  alluding  to  his 
chief  said :  "  He  is  now  first  in  war,  first  in  peace,  first  in 
the  hearts  of  his  countrymen";  and  Senator  Chandler, 
who  followed,  added :  "  We  are  assembled  to  do  honor 
to  the  Wellington  of  the  nineteenth  century,  I  heard  this 
man,  in  the  spring  of  1864,  say  to  Abraham  Lincoln  :  '  My 
objective  point  is  Lee's  army,  and  I  inform  you  that  there 
shall  be  neither  truce  nor  peace  nor  rest  until  the  army  of 
General  Lee  or  my  army  is  destroyed.' '  And  lifting  his 
voice  with  tremendous  energy,  Senator  Chandler  then  said  : 
"  Fellow-citizens,  General  Grant  fought  it  out  on  that 
line!"  And  the  answering  thunder  of  the  crowd  below 
said  "  Amen  "  to  it. 

On  the  same  evening  a  monster  meeting  in  his  honor 


was  held  in  Cooper  Union,  and  the  audience  waited  hours 
for  him  to  appear.  He  came  at  last,  bearing  no  sign  of 
military  rank  beyond  a  few  brass  buttons  on  his  coat,  and 
while  the  audience  shouted  itself  breathless,  he  bowed  and 
smiled  with  a  quizzical  look  about  his  eyes.  Without  a 
shade  of  vanity,  he  consented  to  stand  upon  a  chair,  that 
all  might  see  him.  "  No  picture  can  denote  the  extreme 
modesty  of  demeanor,"  said  one  of  the  papers,  "  or  the 
quiet,  natural  gentleness  which  characterizes  every  move 
ment.  He  would  be  the  last  man  in  the  world  whom  the 
casual  observer  would  point  out  as  a  great  general ;  but 
his  clear  blue  eyes,  high  forehead,  and  determined  look 
speak  plainly  of  his  innate  greatness." 

Escaping  from  the  endless  processions  of  people,  he 
passed  on  to  West  Point,  which  he  had  not  seen  since  he 
left  it  a  brevet  second  lieutenant  with  high  hopes  of  being 
a  professor  of  mathematics  in  some  Western  college.  He 
returned  filling  a  position  which  had  not  been  held  since 
Washington's  death.  General  Scott,  the  oldest  living 
general  of  the  United  States  armies,  received  him  in  his 
most  resplendent  undress  uniform — a  coat  of  blue,  with 
lapels  of  yellow  silk,  and  yellow  buttons.  His  head  was 
uncovered,  and  his  white  hair  was  peculiarly  impressive. 
It  was  an  unforgetable  meeting — the  gigantic  old  man, 
so  venerable,  yet  so  soldierly  of  mien,  representing  the 
military  tactics  of  the  past,  greeting  the  simple  and  plain 
Grant,  who  represented  what  might  be  called  the  school 
of  "  common-sense  war,"  and  who  seemed  so  small  beside 
the  famous  veteran's  heroic  bulk. 

General  Grant  felt  a  curious  return  of  his  old-time  awe 
and  admiration  of  General  Scott,  as  well  as  of  the  pro 
fessors  and  commanders  of  the  academy,  and  it  added  a 
captivating  shyness  to  his  reserve. 

From  West  Point  he  went  to  Chicago,  in  accordance 
with  a  promise  he  had  made  to  attend  a  fair  which  was 
being  held  in  the  interest  of  the  Sanitary  Commission. 
At  every  point  along  the  railway  crowds  gathered  to  see 
him  pass.  Everywhere  the  gratitude  and  love  of  the 
people  flamed  forth  in  greeting.  It  was  a  revealing  and 
memorable  journey  to  him.  It  made  him  suddenly  aware 

328  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

of  the  deep  hold  he  had  won  upon  the  hearts  of  his  coun 
trymen.  In  the  face  of  such  demonstrations  as  these  the 
words  of  his  critics  had  no  force. 

Chicago  was  a  repetition  of  New  York  in  its  outpouring 
of  enthusiasm.  All  that  a  grateful  people  could  do  they 
did.  They  ran  at  his  carriage-wheels.  They  hurrahed 
themselves  hoarse.  They  blared  at  him  with  bands,  and 
assaulted  him  with  fervid  orations.  Mounted  on  "  old 
Jack,"  the  clay-bank  war-horse  who  bore  him  to  the  field 
at  Donelson,  he  made  his  way  up  the  street  in  the  pro 
cession,  while  the  whole  city,  apparently,  gathered  on  the 
sidewalks  to  see  him  pass.  He  was  without  spurs,  and 
old  Jack,  grown  deliberate  with  years  and  many  wars, 
took  his  own  time,  which  added  to  the  general's  embarrass 
ment  and  to  the  delight  of  the  cheering  multitudes. 

At  a  great  meeting  in  the  fair  building  he  was  again 
besought  to  make  a  speech,  and  again  the  people  were 
astonished  to  find  that  the  "  silent  general "  was  in  reality 
silent.  He  said :  "  Ladies  and  gentlemen,  I  never  made  a 
speech  myself,  and  therefore  I  will  ask  Governor  Yates  of 
Illinois  to  convey  to  you  the  thanks  which  I  should  fail  to 
express."  Immense  and  continued  cheers  and  laughter 
followed  this  unexpectedly  short  speech  of  the  general. 

Governor  Yates  then  came  forward  and  spoke  for  him. 
He  felt  ill  prepared,  he  said,  but  confessed  it  to  be  the 
happiest  moment  of  his  life.  "  Some  four  years  ago,  as 
you  will  see  in  a  Vicksburg  paper,  it  was  announced  that 
a  certain  Captain  Grant  had  reported  nine  hundred  rusty 
muskets  on  hand  in  the  State  of  Illinois  for  the  defense  of 
the  government  of  the  United  States.  But  before  two 
years  had  elapsed  that  same  captain  stood  under  the  Grant 
and  Pemberton  tree,  smoking  his  cigar,  while  the  stars 
and  stripes  floated  over  Vicksburg.  I  have  often  said 
before  what  I  am  proud  to  say  now :  these  fingers  " — hold 
ing  up  his  hand — "  signed  the  colonel's  commission  of  the 
world's  greatest  commander.  I  did  n't  know  he  was  to 
become  so  great  a  man  then,  or  I  might  have  been  a  little 
more  complimentary."  This  provoked  a  burst  of  appre 
ciative  laughter. 

Major- General  Sherman,  being  loudly  called  for,  came 


forward  and  said :  "  I  am  here  to-day  as  a  mere  visitor, 
and  cannot  be  long-drawn  into  any  speech  whatever. 
Always  ready,  always  willing,  always  proud  to  back  my 
old  commander-in-chief,  I  will  do  anything  in  the  world 
which  he  asks  me  to  do.  I  know  he  will  not  ask  me  to 
make  a  speech." 

General  Grant,  being  thus  appealed  to,  replied :  "  I 
never  ask  a  soldier  to  do  anything  that  I  cannot  do  my 
self";  and  amid  the  laughter  of  the  crowd  the  generals 

All  this  was  a  very  pleasant  escape  from  contention  and 
thought  of  war,  and  Grant  would  gladly  have  prolonged 
his  furlough  had  he  not  known  that  his  presence  was  im 
peratively  needed  in  Washington.  At  the  end  of  less  than 
two  weeks'  respite  he  returned  to  headquarters,  and  en 
tered  at  once  upon  a  contest  with  the  President  and  cabi 
net,  who  had  determined  to  arrest  Generals  Lee  and 
Johnston  on  a  charge  of  treason.  This  General  Grant  set 
himself  at  once  to  prevent. 

From  Raleigh,  as  early  as  the  26th  of  April,  he  had 
written  a  letter  to  his  wife  which  showed  that  not  even 
the  murder  of  Lincoln  had  changed  his  sorrowful  tender 
ness  toward  the  Southern  people : 

The  people  are  anxious  to  see  peace  restored.  The  suffering 
that  must  exist  in  the  South,  even  with  the  war  ending  now,  will 
be  beyond  conception.  People  who  talk  of  further  retaliation 
and  punishment,  except  of  political  leaders,  either  do  not  con 
ceive  of  the  suffering  endured  already,  or  they  are  heartless  and 
unfeeling,  and  wish  to  stay  at  home  out  of  danger  while  the 
punishment  is  being  inflicted. 

It  was  a  singular  condition  which  made  this  great  war 
rior,  who  had  sent  armies  crashing  through  and  across  the 
Confederacy,  devouring  wealth,  destroying  lines  of  trans 
portation,  and  starving  out  armies,  now  the  friend  and 
protector  of  the  surrendered  people;  yet  this  was  the 
next  development  in  the  astounding  career  of  Ulysses 

Here  again  was  seen  the  far-reaching  significance  of 
the  life  he  had  lived.  All  things  had  tended  to  make  him 

330  LIFE   OF    GRANT 

the  man  to  rebuild  the  nation.  His  early  life  in  a  town 
half  South,  half  North,  his  association  with  Southern  men 
at  West  Point  and  in  the  regular  army,  his  marriage  with 
a  Southern  woman,  his  life  in  St.  Louis — in  short,  till 
nearly  forty  years  of  age  his  way  of  life  had  led  him  among 
men  of  strong  Southern  sentiment,  and  being  a  man  of 
naturally  mild  and  gentle  character,  he  had  gone  into  the 
war  without  hate,  and  had  conquered  without  malignity. 
He  was  not  an  extremist.  From  the  very  day  of  Lee's 
surrender  he  began  to  pacificate  and  to  heal.  Every 
word,  every  act,  was  kindly  and  considerate,  although  he 
was  never  weak  or  palliative. 

In  the  few  days  which  elapsed  between  Appomattox 
and  the  death  of  Lincoln  the  North  was  in  jubilant  and 
magnanimous  mood ;  but  after  the  assassination  many 
men  high  in  office  grew  bitter  and  revengeful.  Men  who 
had  clapped  their  hands  in  consent  of  the  generous  terms 
granted  to  Lee  began  to  grumble  sullenly,  and  there  were 
those  in  the  White  House  who  demanded  the  arrest  and 
trial  of  all  the  leaders  of  the  rebel  army. 

Abraham  Lincoln's  untimely  death  brought  into  the 
Presidential  chair  Andrew  Johnson  of  Tennessee,  a  man 
who  had  been  actively  loyal  at  a  time  when  loyal  men  in 
Tennessee  were^much  to  be  desired.  He  had  been  put  on 
the  ticket  with  Lincoln  for  good  political  reasons,  and  up 
to  this  moment  was  very  well  regarded.  He,  too,  was 
self-made.  He  had  climbed  from  the  tailor's  bench  to  the 
governorship  of  Tennessee  in  1853,  and  was  afterward 
reflected.  In  1857  he  had  been  made  United  States 
senator,  and  in  1862  appointed  military  governor  of  Ten 
nessee,  and  had  discharged  his  duties  faithfully  and  well. 
He  was  called  by  a  London  paper  "  a  very  determined,  a 
very  original,  and  it  may  be  a  very  dangerous,  but  un 
questionably  a  very  powerful  man." 

He  was  a  man  of  the  ranks,  and  he  hated  the  aristo 
cratic  tendencies  of  the  South.  His  sudden  accession  to 
power  set  his  head  whirling,  and  his  first  resolution  was 
"to  make  treason  odious" — to  punish  the  Southern 
leaders,  to  let  them  feel  the  weight  of  his  hand.  He  dis 
approved  of  the  magnanimous  terms  which  Grant  had 

GRANT    PROTECTS    HIS    CONQUERED    FOES         331 

written  out  for  Lee.  Davis  had  been  apprehended,  and 
was  in  prison ;  but  General  Lee,  still  relying  upon  General 
Grant's  parole,  was  living  quietly  at  home.  Him  Johnson 
and  his  cabinet  threatened  to  arrest  and  try  for  treason. 

General  Lee,  hearing  of  this,  appealed  to  General  Grant, 
through  a  friend,  in  order  to  be  assured  of  his  safety  from 
imprisonment  or  death.  He  wrote : 

Upon  reading  the  President's  proclamation  on  the  29th,  I  came 
to  Richmond  to  ascertain  what  was  proper  or  required  of  me  to 
do,  when  I  learned,  that  with  others,  I  was  to  be  indicted  for 
treason  by  the  grand  jury  at  Norfolk.  I  had  supposed  that  the 
officers  and  men  of  the  Army  of  Northern  Virginia  were  by  the 
terms  of  the  surrender  protected  by  the  United  States  govern 
ment  from  molestation  so  long  as  they  conformed  to  its  condi 
tions.  I  am  ready  to  meet  any  charges  that  may  be  preferred 
against  me ;  I  do  not  wish  to  waive  trial ;  but  if  I  am  correct  as 
to  the  protection  granted  by  my  parole,  and  I  am  not  to  be 
prosecuted,  I  desire  to  comply  with  the  provisions  of  the  Presi 
dent's  proclamation,  and  therefore  inclose  the  required  applica 
tion,  which  I  request,  in  that  event,  may  be  acted  upon. 

To  this  Grant  replied : 

Your  communication  has  been  received  and  forwarded  to  the 
Secretary  of  War,  with  the  following  opinion  indorsed  thereon  by 
me :  "  In  my  opinion,  the  officers  and  men  paroled  at  Appo- 
mattox  Court-house,  and  since  upon  the  same  terms  given  to  Lee, 
cannot  be  tried  for  treason  so  long  as  they  observe  the  terms  of 
their  parole.  This  is  my  understanding.  Good  faith  as  well  as 
true  policy  dictates  that  we  should  observe  the  conditions  of 
that  convention.  Bad  faith  on  the  part  of  the  government,  or  a 
construction  of  that  convention  subjecting  the  officers  to  trial  for 
treason,  would  produce  a  feeling  of  insecurity  in  the  minds  of  all 
the  paroled  officers  and  men.  If  so  disposed,  they  might  even 
regard  such  an  infraction  of  terms  by  the  government  as  an 
entire  release  from  all  obligations  on  their  part.  I  will  state 
further  that  the  terms  granted  by  me  met  the  hearty  approval  of 
the  President  at  the  time  and  of  the  country  generally.  The 
action  of  Judge  Underwood  in  Norfolk  has  already  had  an  in 
jurious  effect,  and  I  would  ask  that  he  be  ordered  to  quash  all 
indictments  found  against  paroled  prisoners  of  war,  and  to  desist 
from  the  further  prosecution  of  them." 

332  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

I  have  forwarded  your  application  for  amnesty  and  pardon  to 
the  President,  with  the  following  indorsement : 

"  Respectfully  forwarded,  through  the  Secretary  of  War,  to  the 
President,  with  the  earnest  recommendation  that  this  application 
of  General  R.  E.  Lee  for  amnesty  and  pardon  be  granted  him ! " 

Certainly  nothing  could  be  franker,  manlier,  or  more 
generous  than  this,  but  General  Grant's  protest  did  not 
end  there.  He  followed  the  matter  to  the  cabinet-room, 
and  there  took  a  firm  stand.  "  The  people  of  the  North 
do  not  wish  to  inflict  torture  upon  the  people  of  the 
South,"  he  said. 

The  President  was  still  determined  that  these  men 
should  be  punished.  "  I  will  make  treason  odious,"  he 
said.  "  When  can  these  men  be  tried?  " 

"  Never,"  replied  Grant,  with  the  most  inflexible  deci 
sion, — "  never,  unless  they  violate  their  parole." 

Johnson  persisted  in  the  contention.  "  I  would  like  to 
know,"  he  said  sneeringly,  "  by  what  right  a  military 
commander  interferes  to  protect  an  arch-traitor  from  the 

This  made  Grant  extremely  angry,  and  he  spoke  with 
great  earnestness  and  with  the  utmost  plainness.  He 

"  As  general  it  is  none  of  my  business  what  you  or 
Congress  do  with  General  Lee  or  other  commanders. 
You  may  do  as  you  please  about  civil  rights,  confiscation 
of  property ;  that  does  not  come  into  my  province.  But 
a  general  commanding  troops  has  certain  responsibilities 
and  duties  and  powers  which  are  supreme.  He  must  deal 
with  the  enemy  in  front  of  him,  so  as  to  destroy  him ;  he 
may  either  kill  him,  capture  him,  or  parole  him.  His 
engagements  are  secret  so  far  as  they  lead  to  the  destruc 
tion  of  the  foe.  I  have  made  certain  terms  with  Lee — 
the  best  and  only  terms.  If  I  had  told  him  and  his  army 
that  their  liberty  would  be  invaded,  that  they  would  be 
open  to  arrest,  trial,  and  execution  for  treason,  Lee  would 
have  never  surrendered,  and  we  should  have  lost  many 
lives  in  destroying  him.  Now,  my  terms  of  surrender 
were  according  to  military  law,  and  so  long  as  General 

GRANT   PROTECTS    HIS    CONQUERED    FOES          333 

Lee  observed  his  parole  I  will  never  consent  to  his  arrest 
I  will  resign  the  command  of  the  army  rather  than  execute 
any  order  directing  me  to  arrest  Lee  or  any  of  his  com 
manders  so  long  as  they  obey  the  laws." 

Upon  the  rock  of  his  inflexible  resolution  the  rage  of 
the  President  broke  without  effect.  He  had  met  a  man 
he  could  neither  wheedle  nor  intimidate.  He  knew  some 
thing  of  the  position  to  which  General  Grant  had  attained. 
If  he  did  not  fear  him  personally,  he  feared  the  people, 
whose  love  he  held  and  whose  will  he  represented.  The 
indictments  against  Generals  Lee  and  Johnston  were 
dropped  and  never  again  referred  to. 



AS  the  hot  weather  came  on  the  chief  felt  the  necessity 
JL\.  of  taking  a  genuine  vacation.  His  trip  to  Chicago 
had  not  been  long  enough  to  afford  him  the  change  and 
relief  he  needed.  Early  in  July,  therefore,  he  set  out  on 
a  long  journey  to  the  North  and  East. 

He  arrived  in  Boston  on  Saturday,  the  last  day  of  July, 
and  was  received  with  the  same  fervor  of  admiration  which 
had  greeted  him  in  every  city  in  the  North.  He  spent  a 
quiet  Sunday,  attending  church  at  the  Old  South  Meeting 
house  with  Mrs.  Grant,  and  received  a  few  callers.  On 
Monday  at  noon  a  great  demonstration  was  given  him  at 
historical  Faneuil  Hall.  The  sanded  floor  was  packed, 
and  the  gallery  filled  to  its  utmost  capacity,  and  thousands 
were  compelled  to  wait  without,  unable  to  gain  admit 

The  enthusiasm  of  the  large  audience  broke  forth  in 
prolonged  cheering  as  the  great  commander  appeared,  and 
continued  for  five  minutes  before  quiet  was  restored.  The 
general,  with  eyes  twinkling  with  good  nature,  walked  up 
and  down  the  platform,  that  the  audience  might  see  him. 

The  mayor,  in  introducing  him,  said :  "  If  our  lips  had 
been  dumb,  these  very  walls  would  have  reproached  us, 
and  these  pictured  forms  would  have  rushed  from  their 
canvases  to  bid  General  Grant  welcome  to  Faneuil  Hall." 
The  general  refused  to  make  a  speech  in  reply,  but  con 
sented  to  shake  hands  for  an  hour. 

The  next  morning  he  took  the  train  for  Portland,  and 
rode  out  of  the  city  of  Boston  standing  upon  the  rear 



platform,  and  bowing  his  acknowledgments  to  the  immense 
crowds  gathered  to  say  good-by.  In  Portland  he  was 
received  by  the  city  government  and  a  large  escort  of 
soldiers  and  civilians.  His  greeting  was  as  hearty  as  in 
any  other  city  in  which  he  had  been  seen.  At  Brunswick 
he  was  received  by  the  officers  and  students  of  Bowdoin 
College.  He  attended  the  closing  exercises  of  the  com 
mencement  at  the  church,  where  the  degree  of  LL.  D. 
was  conferred  upon  him.  But  not  even  this  honor  could 
extract  from  him  a  speech. 

On  Thursday,  August  3,  he  visited  Augusta.  The 
governor  welcomed  him  most  cordially,  and  the  general 
responded  with  most  eloquent  silence.  That  night  he 
returned  again  to  Portland,  and  at  twenty  minutes  past 
one  the  next  day  started  for  Quebec.  As  the  news  of  his 
trip  got  abroad  in  the  land,  it  was  conceived  by  certain 
shrewd  minds  to  have  a  very  deeply  hidden  significance. 
It  was  hinted  that  Grant  was  studying  the  defenses  of 
Canada,  and  that  it  foreboded  some  international  entan 

In  Quebec  he  dined  with  the  governor-general,  and  met 
the  admiral  of  the  English  navy,  who  had  just  arrived 
with  two  war- vessels.  From  Quebec  he  proceeded  to 
Montreal  and  Toronto  by  special  train.  He  reentered  the 
Union  at  Detroit,  where  he  met  with  one  of  the  most 
hearty  and  informal  receptions  of  his  entire  trip,  for  here 
he  had  many  old  friends  and  acquaintances. 

He  arrived  on  Saturday,  August  12,  and  remained  until 
Tuesday,  the  1 5th.  Here,  as  everywhere,  he  had  scarcely 
a  minute  of  time  to  himself.  Every  one  wished  to  see 
him  and  to  touch  his  hand.  "  The  excitement  on  the 
street  approached  closely  to  wildness."  Jefferson  Avenue, 
through  which  he  used  to  drive  with  his  little  Cicotte 
mare,  was  now  densely  packed  with  human  beings,  every 
face  eagerly  turned  to  catch  sight  of  him.  The  formal 
reception  took  place  in  front  of  his  hotel,  in  the  presence 
of  at  least  seven  thousand  people.  The  Hon.  Theodore 
Romaeyne  made  a  speech  of  welcome.  Among  other 
things,  he  said : 

"  You,  sir,  were  always  seen  as  a  simple  soldier,  intent 

336  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

on  doing  good  duty  as  such.  Your  calm  courage,  your 
military  skill,  were  understood  and  appreciated  by  your 
countrymen.  They  learned  to  look  to  you  as  the  seaman 
looks  to  the  polar  star  beyond  the  drift  and  shadow  of  the 
clouds,  shining  on  in  quiet  and  steady  splendor.  We  knew 
that  under  your  leadership  the  defeat  and  capture  of  Lee's 
army  were  mere  questions  of  time." 

The  answer  to  all  of  this  music,  oratory,  and  huzzahing 
was  given  by  the  general  in  these  words :  "  Gentlemen,  I 
bid  you  all  good  night." 

There  were,  of  course,  humorous  incidents  in  all  these 
receptions.  It  was  impossible  for  the  general  to  cross  the 
corridors  of  the  hotels  without  finding  his  way  blocked  by 
inquisitive  admirers.  When  he  put  his  boots  out  into  the 
hall  to  be  blacked,  they  were  carried  off  as  mementos. 
In  every  way  that  could  be  imagined  the  people  expressed 
their  love,  admiration,  and  curiosity  for  a  man  who,  if  left 
to  himself,  would  have  been  glad  to  pass  through  without 
the  slightest  fuss  or  display.  In  Canada  his  simplicity 
and  uniform  courtesy  were  much  commented  upon.  He 
passed  through  Chicago  as  quietly  as  possible,  and  reached 
Galena  eager  for  rest. 

The  return  of  the  leather-clerk  marks  an  epoch  in  the 
history  of  Galena.  A  little  more  than  four  years  had  passed 
since  he  fell  in  behind  Captain  Chetlain's  company,  lean 
carpet-bag  in  hand,  unnoticed  except  by  a  few  boys.  Now 
cannon  boomed  welcome,  bands  were  playing,  the  whole 
State  and  part  of  Wisconsin  and  Iowa  seemed  there  to  meet 
him,  and  the  town  was  gay  with  flags  and  flowers  and  tri 
umphal  arches.  Rawlins,  the  "  charcoal-burner,"  was  there 
with  him  as  his  chief  of  staff.  Rowley,  the  clerk  who  had 
helped  him  tack  the  leather  cover  on  the  court-house  table, 
was  General  Rowley,  home  on  a  furlough,  and  eager  to 
welcome  his  old  commander.  Chetlain  was  a  brigadier, 
and  so  was  J.  E.  Smith.  But  there  were  many  others  who 
had  not  returned  from  the  war,  brave  men  whom  Grant 
would  have  delighted  to  honor. 

The  Hon.  E.  B.  Washburne,  beaming  with  pride  and 
satisfaction,  made  the  speech  of  welcome,  while  Editor 
Houghton  of  the  "  Gazette,"  the  man  who  earliest  pre- 

THE    GENERAL   TAKES    A    SUiMMER    VACATION      337 

dieted  Captain  Grant's  high  command,  kept  modestly  in 
the  background  with  recording  pencil  in  hand. 

The  people  had  erected  two  great  arches  over  the  prin 
cipal  street,  on  one  of  which  the  names  of  his  great  bat 
tles  had  been  written,  while  on  another  were  these  words : 
"General,  the  sidewalk  is  built."  Once,  in  1864,  when 
somebody  had  mentioned  the  possibility  of  his  candidacy 
for  the  Presidency,  he  had  replied :  "  I  am  not  a  candidate 
for  any  office,  but  I  would  like  to  be  mayor  of  Galena  long 
enough  to  fix  the  sidewalks,  especially  the  one  reaching  to 
my  house."  The  people  had  not  only  built  the  new  side 
walk,  but  a  new  house  at  the  end  of  it,  where  dinner  was 
at  that  moment  waiting  him.  It  was  a  home,  completely 
furnished,  and  ready  for  immediate  possession. 

The  streets  were  filled  with  the  plain  people  of  the 
prairies  and  coulees  round  about,  and  as  his  carriage 
moved  slowly  past  the  little  leather-store  in  which  he  had 
sold  bristles  and  straps  in  1861,  the  applause  took  on  a 
singular  note.  Every  mind  was  filled  with  the  wonder  of 
this  man's  achievement  in  four  short  years;  every  hand 
was  eager  to  clasp  his,  every  eye  hungry  to  look  into  his 
face.  When  he  lived  there,  four  years  before,  scarcely  a 
score  of  his  townspeople  knew  him.  Now  the  civilized 
world  knew  him.  It  was  as  mysterious  as  any  tale  of  the 
"  Arabian  Nights."  Had  he  been  slain  with  Abraham  Lin 
coln,  he  would  have  been  a  myth — a  mysterious,  epic  fig 
ure  like  Charlemagne.  Now  here  he  was  before  them, 
just  as  unassuming  as  when  he  walked  their  streets  four 
years  before ;  and,  with  the  perversity  of  those  who  do  not 
easily  grant  greatness  to  others,  they  fell  back  in  disap 
pointment.  His  presence  did  not  aid  to  make  his  deeds 

At  the  new  house  all  the  most  influential  ladies  of  the 
town  were  gathered,  ready  to  serve  him  and  his  family 
with  a  Western  dinner.  Mr.  McClellan — he  who  had  en 
couraged  him  to  stay  in  Springfield  during  those  almost 
hopeless  days  of  seeking — made  the  little  speech  present 
ing  the  house.  Having  occasion  to  turn  to  him  in  the 
midst  of  some  oratorical  figure,  the  speaker  was  amazed 
and  deeply  moved  to  see  the  tears  coursing  down  the 

338  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

general's  cheeks,  while  his  lips  were  quivering.  He  could 
scarcely  reply.  No  honor  ever  tendered  him  affected  him 
more  deeply  than  this  little  ceremony  on  the  part  of  the 
citizens  of  Galena.  He  was  a  man  of  the  deepest  affec 
tions,  and  had  a  singular  love  for  localities  in  which  he  had 
lived.  He  remembered  every  place  with  tenderness,  even 
Sacket's  Harbor  and  Humboldt  Bay,  the  scenes  of  his 
profitless  barrack  life ;  and  to  him  Galena,  and  the  people 
of  Galena,  were  very  dear. 

He  went  forth  in  the  days  that  followed,  walking  about 
the  streets  and  entering  the  stores  and  offices  like  any 
other  citizen.  He  responded  to  every  greeting  unhesitat 
ingly  and  cordially.  He  shook  hands  with  the  men  who 
drove  the  drays  for  the  Grant  firm  in  1861.  He  spent 
long  hours  in  the  humble  offices  of  his  friends  Rowley  and 
Washburne.  He  enjoyed  more  deeply  than  any  civilian 
can  know  the  peace  and  the  democracy  of  this  little  town. 
On  Sunday  he  walked  down  to  the  little  church  with  Mrs. 
Grant,  and  sat  in  the  little  bare  board  pew  they  had  occu 
pied  four  years  before.  It  put  the  war  far  off,  and  brought 
the  thrift,  buoyancy,  and  democracy  of  the  West  very  near 
to  him.  These  live,  liberal,  and  loyal  citizens  were  his 
own  type  of  men.  His  state  of  mind  is  clearly  indicated 
by  his  reply  to  a  friend  who  asked  him  if  he  were  not 
going  to  a  certain  review  of  veterans.  "  No,"  he  said 
decidedly ;  "  I  don't  want  to  see  another  uniform  as  long 
as  I  live." 

He  spent  several  weeks  in  Galena,  enjoying  to  the  full 
its  remoteness  from  war  and  politics.  But  the  time  came 
when  it  became  necessary  for  him  to  start  eastward.  His 
presence  was  again  demanded  in  Washington.  At  the 
station,  while  he  was  waiting  for  the  train,  he  made  one 
of  his  characteristically  dry  remarks.  Calling  the  atten 
tion  of  a  friend  to  an  enormous  truck-load  of  trunks,  he 
said :  "  Do  you  see  that  pile  of  baggage  ?  Well,  that  is 
the  Grant  baggage.  Do  you  see  that  little  black  valise 
away  up  on  top?  That  's  mine." 

On  his  way  back  to  Washington,  he  stopped  at  Cincin 
nati  and  Covington  to  see  his  father  and  mother.  Here, 
again,  the  men  who  knew  of  his  sorrowful  return  in  1854 


met  him  with  a  feeling  of  awe.  Try  as  they  might,  they 
could  not  understand  the  mystery. 

He  consented  here  to  more  receptions,  and  in  these 
receptions  his  marvelous  memory  of  faces  began  to  be 
observed.  Every  man  who  had  ever  looked  into  his  face, 
even  for  a  moment,  was  remembered.  To  the  most  of 
those  who  passed  he  said  nothing.  He  responded  to 
no  praise  or  prophecy.  But  if  a  little  girl  said,  "  I  am 
Lily,  Lucy  Smith's  daughter,"  he  checked  the  whole 
line  while  he  talked  with  her  about  her  mother.  Or  if 
some  humble  citizen  from  Georgetown  or  Ripley  said  to 
him,  "  General,  I  used  to  know  your  folks,"  his  face 
lighted  up  at  once,  and  he  returned  the  man's  grip  with 
cordial  interest. 

Uncle  Jesse  was  glorified  by  his  son's  presence,  and 
made  the  general  uncomfortable  by  his  grossly  evident 
pride  and  pleasure.  All  the  dark  past  was  forgotten 
now ;  the  sad  days  of  his  son's  defeats  eleven  years  before 
were  as  though  they  had  never  been.  The  mother,  how 
ever,  received  Ulysses  with  unchanged  manner.  Nothing 
seemed  to  surprise  her.  His  victories  she  accepted  as 
matters  of  natural  course,  and  she  went  about  the  house 
with  the  calm,  unhurried  step  which  had  never  varied  from 
year  to  year.  For  all  her  mask  of  face,  she  was  very 
proud  of  her  boy. 

The  general  took  a  team,  one  morning,  and  started  to 
drive  quietly  to  Bethel,  some  twenty  miles  away.  But 
the  people  of  his  old  homes  in  Brown  and  Clermont  counties 
were  astir.  They  got  together,  and  hastily  appointed  a 
committee  of  prominent  citizens  to  ride  out  and  meet  the 
illustrious  soldier.  After  riding  some  miles  on  the  road 
without  seeing  any  signs  of  the  general's  party,  they  con 
cluded  he  must  have  taken  another  road. 

While  discussing  this,  a  smallish,  care-worn  man  came 
jogging  along  the  dusty  road  in  a  light  surrey.  To  him 
they  appealed: 

"  Did  you  hear  anything  about  General  Grant  as  you 
came  along?  " 

"Yes;  he  's  on  the  road,"  replied  the  stranger,  and 
drove  on. 

34°  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

After  he  had  passed  out  of  ear-shot,  some  one  said : 
"I  believe  that  was  Grant  himself." 

It  was,  and  the  deeply  disappointed  committee  trailed 
into  town  behind  their  visitor.  They  were  looking  for  a 
man  in  uniform  with  a  glittering  cavalcade  of  aides.  They 
could  not  understand  how  sweet  it  was  to  General  Grant 
to  ride  out  along  those  familiar  fields  in  fruity  September, 
a  civilian  again,  without  reminder  of  war.  The  visit  to 
West  Point  had  not  the  deep-laid  pleasure  he  found  in  this 
lonely  drive. 

The  citizens  demanded  a  speech ;  but  he  had  no  speech 
to  make.  He  had  no  wish  to  meet  crowds ;  he  wanted  to 
talk  with  the  neighbors.  From  Bethel  he  drove  on  to 
Georgetown  in  the  same  fashion,  and  put  up  at  the  very 
humble  little  hotel  of  the  village.  Georgetown  greeted 
him  with  very  marked  self-repression.  A  large  number 
of  the  villagers  were  "peace  Democrats,"  and  were  not 
prepared  to  throw  up  their  hats  for  "  Ulyss  "  Grant  or  any 
other  Republican.  They  recalled  Grant's  dullness  when 
a  boy ;  they  talked  among  themselves  of  his  forced  resig 
nation  from  the  army,  and  of  his  reported  drinking  at 
Shiloh  and  Corinth.  There  were  those  who  said :  "  I  '11 
be  d — d  if  I  attend  any  meeting  in  his  honor." 

If  the  general  knew  anything  of  these  unplanned  criti 
cisms,  he  made  no  sign  of  it.  He  met  everybody  with 
cordial  hand-clasp,  and  threaded  the  paths  which  ran 
through  vacant  lots  covered  with  cockle-burs  and  mullen 
stalks  to  call  upon  lonely  old  spinsters  who  had  known  his 
mother,  and  whom  he  remembered  very  well  himself. 
He  sat  in  their  tiny  little  parlors,  on  their  worn  haircloth 
furniture,  and  ate  of  their  indigestible  cake  and  pie  with 
ready  cheer,  and  in  one  or  two  instances  presented  old 
friends  with  a  big  gold  piece  as  a  further  mark  of  his 
regard.  He  seemed  anxious  to  meet  all  the  old  people, 
no  matter  how  surly  and  crabbed  they  might  be.  He  had 
forgotten  all  their  bad  traits,  and  all  their  bitter  words. 
They  were  all  homely  and  good  to  him. 

He  was  for  the  time  being  a  citizen  of  the  village,  and 
there  are  not  many  social  distinctions  drawn  in  George 
town,  even  to  this  day.  They  considered  themselves  as 


good  as  Ulysses  Grant,  and  quite  capable  of  criticizing  him 
and  of  giving  him  good  advice.  They  did  not  stand  in 
awe  of  princes  or  potentates  of  any  sort,  and  Grant,  in  his 
dusty  hat  and  cockle-bur-decorated  trousers,  was  not  im 
posing  to  them.  The  world  from  which  he  came  was  all 
too  far  away  and  its  distinction  too  insubstantial  for  these 
old  neighbors  occupied  with  tilling  the  soil,  with  daily 
duty  in  shop  and  office.  They  could  not  appreciate  the 
mighty  power  to  which  Ulysses  Grant  had  attained.  In 
their  secret  hearts  many  of  them  said :  "  It  's  just  blind 
luck;  that  is  what  it  is.  Circumstances  made  him.  I 
could  have  done  the  same  thing  under  the  same  circum 

The  demonstration  was  carried  to  a  reasonable  stage,  and 
the  general  made  a  lame  little  speech,  the  longest  he  had 
made  in  all  these  many  receptions  and  ovations  in  cities 
East  and  West.  He  seemed  more  profoundly  touched  by 
the  recognition  of  his  services  in  Georgetown  than  by  any 
other  demonstration  except  that  in  Galena.  He  knew 
how  skeptical  all  his  old  neighbors  had  been.  He  remem 
bered  how  they  had  ridiculed  his  fond  old  father,  and  how 
they  had  wagged  their  heads  at  his  failures.  All  this  he 
knew,  and,  being  human,  he  was  glad  to  be  able  to  dem 
onstrate  his  power  and  fitness  for  command,  after  all. 

Returning  to  Washington  in  October,  he  took  up  his 
home  on  I  Street.  In  doing  this  he  offered  to  surrender 
the  house  in  Philadelphia,  which  had  been  given  him  with 
an  understanding  that  he  was  to  live  there.  But  the  citi 
zens  of  Philadelphia  very  sensibly  said :  "  We  know  you 
must  live  near  headquarters,  and  we  release  you  from  all 
obligations.  The  house  is  yours  to  use  as  you  please." 

As  the  months  passed  the  certainty  that  peace  had 
returned,  never  to  be  broken,  led  the  people,  North  and 
South,  to  turn  their  almost  undivided  attention  to  produc 
tion  and  to  trade ;  but  the  politicians  began  to  plan  for 
the  next  Presidential  campaign,  and  statesmen  in  private 
gravely  grappled  with  the  puzzling  questions  growing  out 
of  the  war.  The  government  debt,  the  protection  and 
enfranchisement  of  the  negro,  and  the  policy  of  recon 
struction  were  the  then  almost  insoluble  problems  to 

342  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

which  the  lawmakers  were  forced  to  address  their  highest 

The  question  of  who  should  be  President  also  troubled 
a  large  number  of  patriots.  Every  man  prominent  in  war 
or  politics  secretly  wished  to  be  President,  if  he  did  not 
actually  set  to  work  to  secure  the  nomination ;  Johnson, 
Stanton,  Seward,  Sumner,  and  a  score  besides  were  all 
working  to  that  end ;  but  the  "  silent  general  "  went  about 
his  duties  without  regard  to  fear  or  favor.  His  actions 
were  rigidly  non-political,  though  he  had  keen  politicians 
in  his  family  and  on  his  staff.  Rawlins  began  to  fill  his 
ears  with  disturbing  words  of  political  wisdom.  It  did  not 
require  much  prophetic  insight  on  his  part  to  perceive 
that  his  chief  was  to  become  a  candidate  for  the  Presi 
dency.  The  republic  had  always  honored  its  great  com 
manders,  from  Washington  down  to  Taylor,  and  Grant, 
supreme  as  warrior,  was  in  the  logical  line  of  succession. 
But,  whatever  his  own  feeling  in  the  matter,  he  closed  his 
lips  even  to  his  friends.  He  was  a  soldier,  and  waited  for 

Johnson  well  knew  all  this,  and  all  he  did  was  done 
with  an  eye  single  to  securing  the  glory  to  himself.  When 
Grant's  words  and  acts  furthered  Johnson's  interests, 
Johnson  used  them ;  when  they  did  not,  he  distorted  them, 
and  secretly  undermined  and  discredited  his  general-in- 
chief.  When  he  thought  it  might  please  the  North,  he 
cried  out:  "Treason  is  odious;  punish  it";  but  when  he 
saw  the  possibility  of  being  selected  for  the  Presidency  by 
the  aid  of  the  Southern  States,  he  reversed  his  policy,  and 
began  to  truckle  and  trade  for  favor.  He  granted  the 
most  extraordinary  privileges  to  the  conquered  States 
without  the  sanction  of  Congress.  He  appointed  gover 
nors,  and  allowed  their  legislatures  to  assemble.  He  as 
serted,  also,  that  when  a  State  acquiesced  in  the  abolition 
of  slavery,  it  could  send  its  senators  and  congressional 
delegates  to  Washington  on  the  same  terms  as  before  the 
war;  and  upon  these  promises  and  policies  of  the  Presi 
dent  the  South  built,  notwithstanding  the  bitter  opposi 
tion  of  the  majority  of  Northern  people. 

The  President  was  eager  to  keep  Grant  near  him  in  all 

THE    GENERAL    TAKES    A    SUMMER    VACATION       343 

these  plans.  Congress  could  not  meet  until  December, 
and  meanwhile  the  South  was  under  martial  control,  and 
he,  as  commander  of  the  army  and  navy,  had  the  fullest 
freedom  to  work  out  his  plan,  which  he  hoped  would  make 
the  South  solidly  his  and  please  the  Democratic  party  in 
the  North.  Grant  apparently  acquiesced  in  this,  because 
(as  he  said)  he  considered  some  government  necessary,  and 
believed  that  Congress,  when  it  convened,  would  either 
support  or  reverse  it.  He,  as  a  soldier,  had  nothing  to  do 
with  civil  politics.  Before  the  1st  of  October  the  Presi 
dent  had  " flopped"  completely,  and  had  become  as  deeply 
anxious  to  pardon  the  leaders  in  the  Rebellion  as  he  had 
been  to  hang  them  a  few  months  before. 



IN  late  November  the  general,  at  the  request  of  the 
President,  made  a  tour  through  the  South  to  obtain 
a  knowledge  of  the  situation  at  first  hand.  He  visited 
Charleston,  Augusta,  Atlanta,  and  several  other  cities.  In 
some  of  the  towns  his  presence  escaped  notice.  In 
Charleston  the  papers  referred  to  the  demonstration  in  his 
honor  as  "  gloomy  "  and  "  thinly  attended."  In  Augusta 
they  spoke  of  him  as  a  "  diminutive  gentleman  in  black 
civilian  dress." 

In  Atlanta,  without  the  knowledge  of  the  citizens,  he 
took  a  carriage,  and  was  driven  quietly  about  the  streets 
through  the  pelting  rain,  his  slouch-hat  drawn  over  his 
brow,  studying  the  city  and  the  people.  The  few  citi 
zens  hurrying  to  and  fro  on  that  stormy  day  dismissed 
the  silent  figure  in  the  carnage  with  a  glance.  They  saw 
only  a  middle-aged  man  of  business,  driving  about  with  an 
officer  of  the  Union  army.  His  careless  attire,  his  appa 
rently  listless  manner,  made  him  quite  inconspicuous. 

But  when  the  word  was  passed  that  General  Grant  was 
in  town,  Federal  officers,  ex-Confederates,  Union  sympa 
thizers,  and  the  unreconstructed,  as  well,  came  to  talk 
with  him  at  his  hotel.  To  one  and  all  he  listened  with 
grave  attention.  Indignant  loyalists  told  him  that  the 

*  In  writing  this  chapter,  the  author  read  the  newspapers  of  the  time, 
selecting  three  typical  examples  in  the  South  and  four  or  five  in  the  North. 
McPherson's  "  History  of  Reconstruction,"  United  States  Executive  Papers, 
Badeau's  "  Grant  in  Peace,"  and  the  memoirs  of  Sherman,  Sheridan,  and 
Schofield  form  the  main  references. 



rebels  hated  the  old  flag,  and  threatened  violence  to  the 

"  It  is  natural,"  was  his  only  reply. 

Some  wild  schemers  suggested  confiscation,  disfranchise- 
ment,  and  military  rule.  "  We  don't  do  that  way  in 
America,"  he  calmly  said. 

An  old  man  referred  feelingly  to  the  bad  blood  engen 
dered  by  the  war. 

"  It  cannot  last,"  said  the  general.  And  of  this  quality 
was  his  report.  In  it  he  said :  "  I  am  satisfied  that  the 
mass  of  thinking  men  in  the  South  accept  the  present 
situation  of  affairs  in  good  faith." 

While  he  found  universal  acquiescence  in  authority,  he 
thought  it  well  to  retain  some  small  garrisons,  and  rec 
ommended  that  these  details  be  composed  entirely  of 
white  troops ;  that,  under  the  circumstances,  the  presence 
of  black  troops  would  be  demoralizing.  He  conceded  that 
no  thinking  man  would  do  violence  toward  any  class  of 
troops,  but  that  the  ignorant  might.  His  conclusions 
were  that  the  States  were  anxious  to  return  to  self-gov 
ernment,  that  they  wished  protection,  and  that  they  would 
follow  out  cheerfully  any  reasonable  measure  of  recon 
struction.  He  passed  some  criticisms  upon  the  operations 
of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau,  and  in  conclusion  said:  "It 
cannot  be  expected  that  the  opinions  held  by  men  of  the 
South  for  years  can  be  changed  in  a  day,  and  therefore 
the  f reedmen  require  for  a  few  years  not  only  laws  to  pro 
tect  them,  but  the  fostering  care  of  those  who  will  give 
them  good  counsel  and  upon  whom  they  can  rely."  His 
own  suggestion  (a  very  sound  and  reasonable  one)  was 
that  every  officer  on  duty  with  troops  in  the  South 
"  should  be  regarded  as  an  agent  of  the  Freedmen's 
Bureau.  This  would  create  responsibility  and  give  uni 
formity  of  action  throughout  the  South." 

In  the  country  at  large  the  report  of  General  Grant  was 
taken  to  be  an  indorsement  and  support  of  the  restoration 
views  of  President  Johnson,  and  placed  him  in  opposition 
to  the  party  of  Congress  represented  by  Wendell  Phillips 
and  Senator  Sumner,  who  called  the  President's  message 
a  "  whitewashing  message,"  and  of  course  the  same  term 

346  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

could  be  applied,  and  was  applied,  to  General  Grant's 
dispassionate  report.  According  to  one  Southern  writer, 
its  effect  was  very  great. 

"  It  broke  the  full  force  of  the  cruel  legislation  then  in 
progress,  and  the  enemies  of  the  South  were  compelled  to 
change  their  attack.  Demagogues  were  powerless  when 
the  man  of  Appomattox  barred  their  reckless  march." 

This  report  brought  order  out  of  the  chaos  of  public 
opinion.  The  people  of  the  whole  nation  ranged  them 
selves  under  leadership  into  two  great  parties — those  who 
professed  to  believe  in  the  policy  of  the  immediate  pacifi 
cation  of  the  South  by  the  speedy  restoration  of  their  local 
governments,  and  those  who  advocated  stringent  and  un 
relenting  military  control  for  a  few  years  at  least.  It  was 
the  war  in  a  new  form. 

General  Grant's  report  was  quoted  all  over  the  South 
with  approval  in  connection  with  the  President's  message. 
Johnson  was  glad  of  General  Grant's  unintentional  sup 
port,  and  made  the  most  of  it.  He  no  longer  cared  to 
emphasize  differences  between  himself  and  his  general. 
Within  a  few  months  a  complete  change  had  come  over 
his  mind.  From  permitting  provisional  governments  to  be 
established,  he  was  coming  to  the  point  of  upholding  those 
governments,  whether  by  Congress  or  not.  He  was  a 
shrewd  man,  and  an  ambitious  one.  It  was  perfectly  evi 
dent  at  this  time  that  he  was  reorganizing  the  country  in 
such  wise  as  to  become  the  leader  of  the  ultra-liberal  fac 
tion.  He  was  looking  forward  to  being  the  Presidential 
candidate  of  a  new  Democratic  party,  made  up  of  a  union 
between  the  reconstructed  South  and  the  Democratic  party 
of  the  North. 

He  protested  that  he  was  not  himself  a  candidate.  "  I 
am  a  Union  man,"  he  said.  "  It  is  my  intention  to  restore 
peace,  to  build  up  the  South,  to  liberalize  the  whole  nation." 
He  claimed  to  be  a  friend  of  the  poor  and  needy.  He  did 
not  think  it  wise  or  judicious  to  force  suffrage  on  the 
negroes,  and  in  this  he  had  the  partial  support  of  General 
Grant.  "  In  his  haste  to  restore  the  Union,  however,  he 
forgot  that  he  was  not  the  government  of  the  United 
States.  He  forgot  the  necessity  of  having  Congress  on 
his  side,  that  his  acts  must  have  their  approval." 


It  became  apparent  at  once  that  his  measures  were  not 
approved  by  a  majority  of  the  legal  representatives  of  the 
nation,  and  a  bitter  and  relentless  war  began  between  Con 
gress  and  the  President.  By  March  of  1866  the  drift  of 
the  Executive  from  magnanimity  to  leniency  had  become 
so  apparent  to  General  Grant  that  he  found  it  necessary  to 
begin  to  emphasize  a  little  more  markedly  the  difference 
between  the  President's  plan  of  reconstruction  and  his  own. 
It  is  probable,  also,  that  Rawlins,  Babcock,  and  others  of 
the  politicians  on  his  staff  had  produced  an  effect  by  harp 
ing  on  the  belief  that  he  was  to  be  the  irresistible  choice 
for  the  Presidency  at  the  end  of  Johnson's  term.  This 
would  have  been  very  natural,  and  was  probably  true. 
He  admitted  his  aspirations  at  this  time,  but  said  he  was 
too  young  to  become  a  candidate  in  1868,  but  might  think 
of  it  for  1872. 

It  was  a  time  which  demanded  statesmen  and  men  of 
high  aims  and  equable  temper.  The  whole  country  lay 
weltering  in  a  chaos  of  plans  and  policies.  It  was  a  time 
for  men  to  be  unselfish  and  purely  patriotic.  The  South 
clamored,  with  a  certain  justice,  to  be  let  alone.  "  We 
understand  the  negro,"  its  leaders  said,  "  and  we  will  take 
care  of  him  and  ourselves  too.  We  admit  defeat;  we 
accept  the  situation ;  but  we  do  not  wish  to  have  our 
affairs  managed  by  outsiders  in  the  interest  of  an  ignorant 
and  venal  race."  It  was  equally  natural  that  the  North 
should  insist  on  keeping  close  watch  on  these  States  for  a 
time.  They  were  not  prepared  to  believe  that  the  South 
would  take  care  of  the  negro ;  they  were  quite  certain  the 
South  would  abuse  the  negro.  They  said,  in  effect :  "  It 
is  too  much  to  expect  that  a  conquered  people  should  so 
soon  recover  self-government  after  so  great  and  bitter  a 
conflict."  They  believed  that  justice  would  more  certainly 
be  secured  if  the  Northern  government  should  continue 
to  be  represented  through  its  army  and  the  Freedmen's 
Bureau,  which  was  organized  for  the  very  purpose  of 
assisting  the  blacks. 

In  this  matter  of  opinion  General  Grant  remained  of 
steadfast  mind.  He  was  not  impatient ;  he  was  very 
hopeful.  He  did  not  incline  to  severer  measures,  but 
rather  believed  in  slowly  releasing  the  military  hold  on  the 

348  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

conquered  States.  He  refused  to  aid  any  faction  by  the 
presence  of  troops.  He  wished  only  to  keep  the  peace. 
On  the  surface,  President  Johnson's  attitude  was  wise 
and  reasonable;  but  those  at  the  center,  being  skilled  in 
political  warfare,  understood  his  specious  phrases.  His 
perilous  concessions  to  the  South  could  only  make  trouble. 
General  Grant  now  stood  between  the  President  and  the 
South  with  a  new  duty  to  perform,  which  was  to  see  that 
dangerous  concessions  were  not  made,  nor  the  extremists 
of  the  South  correspondingly  encouraged  to  treasonable 

The  President,  well  knowing  his  great  need  of  General 
Grant's  support,  honored  him  above  all  other  men  by  his 
presence.  He  wrote  him  familiar,  unofficial  notes;  he 
granted  him  unexpected  favors,  treating  him  not  merely 
as  an  equal,  but  as  a  personal  friend.  He  appeared  unex 
pectedly  at  a  reception  held  by  the  general  and  Mrs. 
Grant,  and  stood  at  the  general's  side,  dividing  the  honors 
of  the  evening.  In  the  country  at  large  this  course  of 
action  produced  the  effect  desired  by  Johnson.  General 
Grant  was  believed  to  be  the  President's  supporter,  and 
was  placed  in  a  very  painful  position — an  almost  intoler 
able  position  for  a  direct  and  honorable  soldier.  He  was 
violently  assailed  by  the  press.  He  was  accused  of  play 
ing  a  double  game.  He  suffered  under  this  most  keenly. 
Sherman  said  of  him  at  this  time : 

"  I  have  been  with  General  Grant  in  the  midst  of  death 
and  slaughter;  when  the  howls  of  people  reached  him 
after  Shiloh;  when  messengers  were  speeding  to  and  fro 
from  his  army  to  Washington,  bearing  slanders  to  induce 
his  removal  before  Vicksburg;  in  Chattanooga,  when  the 
soldiers  were  stealing  the  corn  of  the  starving  mules  to 
satisfy  their  own  hunger;  at  Nashville,  when  he  was 
ordered  to  the  'forlorn  hope,'  to  command  the  Army  of 
the  Potomac,  so  often  defeated ;  and  yet  I  never  saw 
him  more  troubled  than  since  he  has  been  in  Washing 
ton  and  been  compelled  to  read  himself  a  '  sneak  and 
deceiver.' ' 

It  seems  impossible  that  so  soon  after  Appomattox  any 
reputable  citizen  could  have  applied  such  terms  to  Gen- 


eral  Grant ;  but  so  it  was.  Such  is  the  desolating  power 
of  political  ambition.  Grant  loomed  every  day  larger  as 
candidate  for  the  Presidency,  and  the  need  of  getting  him 
out  of  the  way,  or  of  discrediting  him,  became  each  day 
more  imperative. 

The  fundamental  problem  before  Congress  was  that  of 
protecting  the  black  man  in  his  rights  as  a  free  man,  and 
of  insuring  that  he  should  have  his  proper  representation 
in  the  State  legislatures  and  in  Congress,  without  enlar 
ging  the  political  power  of  the  Southern  white  man.  All 
other  differences  between  the  President  and  the  radical 
Republicans  were  of  small  consequence  compared  with 
this.  The  President  was  accused  of  exceeding  his  powers 
— of  going  too  fast.  He  was  too  ready  in  compliance  with 
Southern  plans. 

Johnson,  in  defending  himself,  said: 

"  I  came  to  Washington  under  extraordinary  circum 
stances,  and  succeeded  to  the  Presidential  chair.  The 
Congress  of  the  United  States  had  adjourned  without 
prescribing  any  plan.  I  therefore  proceeded  in  the  recon 
struction  of  the  government.  How  did  we  begin  ?  We 
found  that  the  people  had  no  courts,  and  we  said  to  the 
judges,  district  attorneys,  and  marshals :  '  Go  down  and 
hold  your  courts.  The  people  need  the  tribunals  of  jus 
tice.'  Was  there  anything  wrong  in  that? 

"  What  else?  We  looked  out  and  saw  that  the  people 
down  there  had  no  mails,  and  we  said  to  the  Postmaster- 
General  :  '  Let  the  people  have  facilities  for  mail,  and  let 
them  again  understand  what  we  all  feel  and  think — that 
we  are  one  people. 

"  We  looked  again,  and  saw  that  the  custom-houses  were 
all  closed,  and  we  said :  '  Open  the  doors ;  remove  the 
blockade.'  And  so  we  traveled  on,  appointing  collectors, 
establishing  mail  routes,  and  restoring  railroads.  Was 
there  anything  wrong  there  ? 

"  What  remained  to  be  done  ?  One  thing  more.  We 
found  they  were  denied  representation,  and,  like  our  fore 
fathers  of  old,  they  complained  of  taxation  without  repre 
sentation.  There  remains  this  one  thing  more :  to  admit 
them  to  representation,  by  which  we  mean  representation 

350  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

in  the  constitutional  and  law-abiding  sense  which  was  un 
derstood  at  the  beginning  of  the  government. 

"  Oh,  but  some  one  will  say :  '  A  traitor  may  come  in.' 
The  answer  to  that  is:  Each  house  must  be  the  judge  of 
it,  and  if  a  traitor  presents  himself,  they  can  kick  him  out 
of  doors,  and  drive  him  back  to  the  people  who  sent  him, 
saying,  '  You  must  elect  a  loyal  man.' ' 

Upon  the  mere  face  of  it  this  position  was  just  and 
reasonable  ;  but  the  radical  Union  men  saw  in  such  appeal 
the  possible  return  to  power  of  the  South,  and  the  over 
throw  of  all  that  they  had  fought  for  during  the  last  four 
years.  General  Grant,  so  far  as  possible,  kept  free  from 
the  clash  of  spears,  passing  calmly  on  his  way,  doing  the 
South  good  wherever  possible,  but  never  for  one  moment 
releasing  his  hold  upon  the  military  control  of  the  con 
quered  States. 

In  the  early  spring  of  1866  there  was  a  notable  upwell- 
ing  of  appreciation  of  his  courtesy  and  kindness  on  the 
part  of  the  South.  Speaking  upon  the  text  of  his  reported 
release  of  General  C.  C.  Clay,  whom  Johnson  had  ordered 
under  arrest,  in  opposition  to  or  in  spite  of  his  possession 
of  a  parole,  the  Atlanta  "  Intelligencer"  said: 

"  While  it  is  true  that  to  General  Grant  the  South  owes 
her  defeat  in  her  attempt  to  establish  an  independent 
government,  it  is  also  true  that  at  the  surrender  of  General 
Lee,  and  ever  since,  up  to  the  present  time,  his  conduct 
toward  the  South  has  been  most  generous  and  in  individual 
cases  most  magnanimous  and  just  The  South  owes  much 
to  General  Grant,  and  its  press  has  been  too  chary  and  tardy 
in  its  acknowledgment  of  the  favors  bestowed  by  this  gen 
eral  upon  the  leaders  of  our  armies.  We  should  now  make 
the  amends.  History  does  not  make  record  of  greater 
magnanimity  than  that  displayed  by  General  Grant  to 
General  Lee  and  the  forces  under  his  command.  The 
faith  plighted  by  him  on  the  day  of  Lee's  surrender  has 
been  kept  inviolate." 

This  acknowledgment  on  the  part  of  the  "Intelligencer" 
was  taken  up,  quoted,  and  approved  by  many  of  the  most 
influential  papers  in  the  South,  though  even  then  they  did 
not  realize  to  the  full  the  service  which  General  Grant  had 


rendered  them.  He  had  done  much  more,  of  which  they 
knew  nothing.  Every  word  that  he  spoke  was  to  their 
good,  and  his  mere  presence  was  a  stay  and  shield  against 
hasty  or  malignant  action.  Too  high  praise  cannot  be 
given  to  him  for  his  conduct  during  this  uneasy  time.  As 
he  was  the  leader  during  the  war,  so  he  remained  the 
leader  during  reconstruction. 

"  My  views  are  that  district  commanders  are  responsible 
for  the  faithful  execution  of  the  Reconstruction  Acts  of 
Congress,"  the  general  wrote  to  General  Pope,  "  but  in 
civil  matters  I  cannot  give  them  an  order ;  I  can  only  give 
them  my  views  for  what  they  are  worth." 

His  views,  so  far  as  they  can  be  read  in  his  orders  and 
telegrams  to  the  district  commander,  were  sound  and  con 
siderate  of  civil  liberty  at  every  point,  without  hint  of 
tyranny.  The  civil  government  was  interfered  with  only 
when  absolutely  necessary  to  preserve  the  peace.  It 
would  have  been  criminal  to  desert  the  black  man  at  this 
point  in  the  war.  "  The  blood  of  every  slain  soldier  in 
the  Northern  army  would  have  cried  '  Shame ! '  to  such 
indifference."  The  war,  fought  primarily  to  preserve  the 
Union,  had  taken  on  larger  significance.  It  was  perceived 
to  have  been  a  war  for  the  rights  of  man. 

All  through  the  summer  of  1866  President  Johnson 
continued  to  give  utterance  to  the  finest  and  loftiest  prin 
ciples.  He  stood,  he  said,  for  the  whole  Union,  and  not 
a  part  of  it.  He  stood  opposed  to  the  radicalism,  ex 
pressed  by  men  of  the  stamp  of  Sumner  in  the  East  and 
Logan  in  the  West — men  to  whom  the  war  was  not  yet 
ended,  who  could  not  forgive  the  South  nor  trust  it. 

He  still  kept,  so  far  as  he  could,  close  to  the  elbow  of 
General  Grant.  He  was  eager  to  have  it  known  that  the 
military  was  on  his  side,  that  its  chief  was  his  personal 
friend  and  supporter,  and  throughout  the  South  this  con 
tinued  to  be  the  understanding.  The  Southern  papers, 
wherever  they  alluded  to  Johnson,  now  spoke  of  him  as 
the  "  great  defender  of  our  rights  and  liberties,"  and  in 
cluded  General  Grant  in  their  praise. 

But  underneath  there  was  developing  a  feeling  on  the 
part  of  General  Grant  and  those  whom  he  represented  that 

352  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

the  President  was  more  than  generous :  he  was  perilously 
compliant.  The  general  became  disgusted  at  last  with 
the  President's  attempt  to  use  him,  and  was  annoyed  by 
his  familiar  notes  and  unexpected  visits.  He  perceived 
the  design  of  this,  and  rebelled  at  it.  It  was  only  a  ques 
tion  of  time  before  there  should  come  a  division  between 
the  general  and  his  chief.  The  Southern  press  grew 
bolder  each  day,  relying  on  Johnson  and  his  office-holders. 
During  September  the  President  made  a  trip  to  Chicago, 
ostensibly  for  the  purpose  of  laying  the  foundation-stone 
of  the  Douglas  monument,  but  in  reality  for  the  express 
purpose  of  justifying  himself  before  the  people. 

From  the  comparative  calm  which  had  followed  close 
upon  Appomattox,  the  country  was  in  tumult.  The 
"  black  Republicans,"  angered  by  Johnson,  were  threaten 
ing  with  clenched  fists  to  force  negro  suffrage  upon  the 
South,  and  were  insisting  upon  military  control  until 
every  right  of  the  negro  should  be  recognized.  The 
South,  on  the  other  hand,  minimized  the  racial  disturb 
ances,  and  promised  that  in  time,  when  he  had  qualified 
himself,  they  might  even  permit  the  negro  to  vote.  They 
were,  however,  exceedingly  bitter  against  any  assumption 
of  social  equality  on  the  part  of  the  black  man,  and  wher 
ever  some  ambitious  and  stiff-necked  freedman  attempted 
to  assert  such  rights,  he  met  with  abuse  and  in  some  cases 
with  assault. 

Thus  the  two  sections  were  again  at  war,  but  at  war  in 
a  new  way.  The  North  said :  "  You  shall  not  come  back 
into  the  Union  with  increased  powers."  The  South 
claimed  that,  according  to  the  Northern  statement,  the 
Southern  States  had  never  been  out  of  the  Union,  and 
having  accepted  the  verdict  of  the  North,  and  having 
given  in  their  allegiance  once  more  to  the  stars  and  stripes, 
they  were  entitled  to  full  representation,  as  the  articles  of 
the  Constitution  provided.  The  policy  of  the  North  was 
to  grant  as  little  as  possible,  and  that  of  the  South  to 
secure  as  much  as  possible. 

President  Johnson  took  the  position  that  the  latter  were 
entitled  to  representation,  and  the  fury  of  the  extremists 
in  the  North  broke  over  him  like  a  flood  of  flame.  He 


was  called  a  traitor,  an  ingrate,  a  miscreant,  and  a  perverter 
of  justice.  Naturally  he  was  appalled  by  this  storm  of 
opposition,  and  it  was  to  put  himself  right  before  the 
Northern  people  that  he  set  out  upon  this  trip  to  the 
West,  speaking  at  every  available  point ;  and  in  order  to 
have  the  apparent  acquiescence  and  open  support  of  Gen 
eral  Grant,  he  requested  the  general-in-chief  to  accompany 

The  political  friends  of  General  Grant  saw  the  cunning 
design  of  the  President,  and  besought  the  general  to  break 
with  him  and  refuse  to  go ;  but  the  general  replied  in  sub 
stance  :  "  I  am  a  soldier ;  he  is  my  superior  officer.  So 
long  as  I  retain  my  present  position,  it  is  my  duty  to 
obey."  At  the  same  time  he  said  :  "  I  am  not  a  politician ; 
I  am  not  a  candidate  for  office ;  and  therefore  it  can  do 
me  little  harm." 

The  President  began  his  tour  late  in  August,  passing  to 
Baltimore  and  Philadelphia,  speaking  along  the  way.  It 
became  evident  at  once  that  General  Grant  was  the  chief 
personality  in  this  tour.  The  heartiest  cheers  were  for 
him ;  the  receptions  were  for  him.  Everywhere  he  went, 
the  people  cried  :  "  Grant !  Grant ! "  and  never  once  did  the 
President's  clique  dominate  this  cordial  appeal  from  the 
people  who  loved  Grant.  At  New  York  the  President 
made  a  very  skilful  speech,  referring  now  to  General 
Grant  on  his  left,  and  now  to  Admiral  Farragut  on  his 
right,  succeeding  thus  in  implicating  them  both  in  his 
policy.  To  this  Grant  made  no  allusion  whatever  in  his 
short  speeches,  except  at  Albany,  when  he  humorously 
said : 

"  All  I  can  say  is,  if  the  President  and  his  cabinet  had 
kept  their  resolution,  made  in  secret  session,  to  leave  the 
admiral  and  myself  to  do  all  the  talking,  we  would  have 
let  you  off  to  go  to  an  early  bed."  He  never  got  nearer 
to  a  political  discussion  than  this. 

As  the  President  went  westward  the  receptions  grew 
ever  cooler  in  temper.  There  were  great  crowds,  but 
they  were  by  no  means  friendly  to  him  or  his  policy. 
"  The  real  Caesar  was  General  Grant.  The  calls  for  the 
President  were  languid  and  perfunctory,  but  the  cries  for 

354  LIFE    °F   GRANT 

Grant  came  straight  from  the  heart."  When  he  did  not 
immediately  show  himself,  "  the  shouts  became  short, 
sharp,  and  angry,  which  signified  it  was  the  people's  will 
that  he  should  appear." 

At  Auburn,  a  little  boy,  in  attempting  to  touch  General 
Grant's  hand,  fell  under  the  carriage  and  had  his  leg 
broken.  Shortly  afterward,  from  his  home,  the  poor  little 
sufferer  sent  word  that  he  wished  very  much  to  see  Gen 
eral  Grant ;  and  the  general,  being  exceedingly  sorrowful 
concerning  the  accident,  visited  him,  and  did  everything 
he  could  to  comfort  and  console  him. 

At  Cleveland  the  indifference  manifested  toward  the 
President  was  very  great,  and  he  there  made  the  angriest 
and  most  imprudent  speech  of  his  tour  thus  far.  "  It  was 
a  most  painful  spectacle  to  see  the  President  of  the  United 
States  standing  on  the  platform,  facing  a  laughing  and 
indifferent  crowd,  his  face  flushed  with  passion,  his  hands 
clenching  and  waving  in  mad  gesticulation."  General 
Grant  was  ill  and  unable  to  appear,  and  his  absence  chilled 
the  eager  throng,  which  dwindled  away. 

In  Chicago  discussion  waxed  bitter.  The  radical  news 
papers  ridiculed  and  denounced  the  President's  speeches 
at  Detroit  and  Cleveland.  It  was  with  difficulty  that  the 
board  of  trade  and  the  city  officials  were  brought  to  proffer 
decent  welcome.  It  was  said  boldly  that  public  interest 
would  center  in  General  Grant  and  Admiral  Farragut. 
Their  marvelous  faculty  of  silence  was  alluded  to  with  joy. 
The  President,  Seward,  Welles,  and  Randall  occupied  the 
foreground ;  but  the  cry,  amid  all  the  blare  of  formalities, 
was  for  Grant. 

At  the  same  time  that  President  Johnson  was  making 
his  attempts  to  reinstate  himself  with  the  people  of  the 
North,  a  convention  of  the  loyal  men  of  the  South  was 
arraigning  the  President,  accusing  him  of  profligacy  in  the 
use  of  the  public  money,  and  charging  him  with  the  re 
sponsibility  of  the  murder  of  more  than  a  thousand  Union 
men.  This  same  feeling  found  expression  in  hisses  among 
the  crowds  in  Chicago.  But  there  were  no  hisses  intended 
for  General  Grant.  His  wonderful  popularity  overshad 
owed  every  other  demonstration. 


At  Springfield,  Illinois,  the  calls  for  Grant  were  so 
insistent  and  powerful  that  the  President  quite  lost  his 
head,  and  cried  out,  "  We  are  not  here  in  the  characters 
of  candidates  for  office  running  against  each  other!"  — 
which  was  a  very  dangerous  and  injudicious  remark. 
Again,  to  those  disposed  to  create  a  disturbance,  he 
shouted  :  "  I  am  in  the  line  with  General  Grant,  contending 
for  the  union  of  the  States." 

The  tour  from  Chicago  through  Illinois  to  St.  Louis 
was  a  gloomy  one.  Everywhere  Johnson  was  given  a  cold 
reception,  while  Grant's  simplicity  of  manner  and  judicious 
reserve  added  to  his  popularity,  although  the  people  were 
impatient  of  his  silence. 

From  St.  Louis  the  President  and  his  party  swung  round 
through  Indianapolis  and  Louisville  to  Cincinnati.  The 
meetings  in  Indianapolis  were  very  turbulent,  amounting 
to  riot.  General  Grant  rebuked  the  disturbers  by  saying : 
"  Gentlemen,  I  am  ashamed  of  you.  Go  home  and  be 
ashamed  of  yourselves."  In  Cincinnati  the  demonstra 
tions  for  him  became  so  marked,  and  the  defection  from 
the  President  so  great,  that  the  general  was  obliged  to 
utter  himself  upon  the  subject.  He  here  said  that  he  stood 
next  to  the  President  as  the  head  of  the  army  of  the 
United  States,  but  that  he  was  not  the  leader  of  a  political 
party ;  that  he  did  not  consider  the  army  a  place  for  a 
politician,  and  would  not,  therefore,  be  committed  to  the 
support  of  the  present  political  party,  or  consent  that  the 
army  should  be  made  a  party  machine.  He  would  not 
allow  anything  to  be  said  which  would  seem  to  foreshadow 
his  resignation  from  the  army  and  his  candidacy  for 
political  office. 

During  the  entire  trip  the  President  and  Mr.  Seward 
gave  out  implications  and  innuendos  designed  to  convey 
the  impression  that  General  Grant  was  a  political  approver 
of  the  President's  policy,  while  the  radicals  everywhere 
sought  out  ways  to  honor  him  and  to  humiliate  the  Presi 
dent.  They  were  determined  to  force  a  break  between 
them.  All  this  made  matters  extremely  difficult  for 
General  Grant. 

The  meeting  in  Pittsburg  was  stormy,  almost  as  riotous 

356  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

as  that  in  Indianapolis.  At  times  the  noise  became  too 
great  for  the  President  to  be  heard.  Cries  for  Grant  pre 
vented  the  President  from  speaking,  and  he  was  obliged  to 
beckon  to  the  general,  who  stood  near,  to  come  to  the 
front  of  the  platform.  Cheers  broke  forth  as  Grant  ap 
peared,  and  continued  as  long  as  he  stood  there ;  but  when 
he  bowed  and  retired,  the  President  found  it  impossible  to 
get  a  further  hearing,  and  was  forced  to  say  "  Good 
night  "  and  withdraw. 

On  September  15  Johnson  returned  to  Washington.  To 
the  throngs  assembled  to  greet  him  on  his  safe  return  he 

"  Such  a  welcome  from  the  people  who  have  been  eye 
witnesses  of  the  manner  in  which  I  have  daily  discharged 
my  duties  is  peculiarly  encouraging.  I  believe  I  can 
testify  that  the  great  portion  of  your  fellow-citizens  I  have 
seen — and  I  have  seen  millions  of  them  since  I  left — will 
accord  with  you  in  sustaining  a  free  government  in  com 
pliance  with  the  Constitution";  which  was  a  very  hopeful 
view  to  take  after  the  stormy  meetings  which  had  greeted 
him  on  his  circuit.  Even  his  supporting  journals  con 
ceded  that  his  trip  had  been  a  gross  blunder  and  his 
speeches  in  bad  taste. 

General  Grant  returned  to  his  multiplex  and  pressing 
duties,  from  which  he  had  been  taken  by  the  President's 
command.  His  pay  now  was  nearly  twenty  thousand 
dollars  a  year.  His  children  were  well  and  at  school. 
He  was  at  home  in  the  capital  of  his  nation,  and  the  cup  of 
his  prosperity  was  level  to  the  brim.  He  had  good  horses 
in  plenty,  a  house  in  Philadelphia  and  one  in  Galena.  If 
happiness  depended  upon  things  exterior,  he  was  happy 
and  quite  content.  He  had  a  life  position,  and  could 
grow  old  honorably  and  without  financial  care. 

He  had  been  made  full  general  in  the  previous  May  by 
a  bill  reviving  the  grade  of  general  in  the  United  States 
army.  This  bill  was  originally  drafted  by  Mr.  Washburne 
of  Illinois  as  a  means  of  promoting  General  Grant.  Thad 
Stevens,  in  speaking  to  the  measure,  said : 

"  Sir,  I  agree  with  the  gentleman  from  New  York  in 
being  willing  to  promote  General  Grant,  not  only  to  the 


office  of  full  general,  but  also  to  a  higher  office  whenever 
the  happy  moment  shall  arrive." 

The  struggle  between  the  President  and  Congress  grew 
each  month  more  bitter.  The  election  strengthened 
Congress,  and  the  plan  decided  upon  by  the  Republican 
members  was  expressed  in  an  amendment  to  the  Consti 
tution,  known  as  "  Article  XIV,"  of  which  the  main  intent 
was  the  protection  of  the  freedmen.  It  provided  also,  in  a 
rider,  that  in  case  any  Southern  State  admitted  to  repre 
sentation  under  the  clauses  of  this  article  should  deny 
the  right,  under  any  pretext,  of  a  black  citizen  to  vote, 
then  the  basis  of  representation  of  that  State  should  be 
the  white  citizenship  alone.  In  this  way  the  white  South 
could  never  become  a  dominant  power  in  Congress. 

As  soon  as  it  became  evident  that  the  South  would 
reject  this,  then  a  far  more  severe  and  arbitrary  measure 
was  designed,  called  the  "  Military  Bill."  This  was  held 
in  reserve  till  the  South,  influenced  by  the  President,  re 
jected  Article  XIV.  It  was  then  passed  over  the  veto  of 
the  President.  The  North  had  become  convinced  by  the 
legislation  of  the  State  governments  of  Mississippi  and 
South  Carolina  that  the  negro  needed  the  most  powerful 

The  bill  assumed  that  there  were  no  just  and  adequate 
governments  in  the  States  of  Virginia,  North  Carolina, 
South  Carolina,  Georgia,  Alabama,  Mississippi,  Louisiana, 
Florida,  Texas,  and  Arkansas;  and  in  order  that  peace 
and  good  order  should  be  enforced  in  these  States  until 
loyal  and  republican  State  governments  could  be  legally 
instituted,  it  provided  that  five  military  districts  should 
be  established,  under  the  command  of  officers  not  below 
the  rank  of  brigadier-general,  appointed  by  the  President; 
and  that  it  should  be  the  duty  of  these  officers  to  protect 
the  rights,  life,  liberty,  and  person  of  all  citizens ;  that 
no  unusual  or  cruel  punishment  should  be  inflicted ;  that 
no  sentence  of  death  should  be  carried  into  execution 
without  the  approval  of  the  President ;  etc. 

The  milk  in  this  cocoanut  was  contained  in  the  final 
paragraph,  which  provided  that  "  whenever  these  States 
should  have  formed  a  constitution  and  government  in  con- 

358  LIFE   OF    GRANT 

formity  with  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States  in  all 
respects,  framed  by  a  convention  of  delegates  elected  by 
the  male  citizens  over  twenty-one  years  of  age,  of  what 
ever  race  or  color,"  and  should  ratify  the  Fourteenth 
Amendment  by  a  majority  of  the  qualified  voters,  then 
the  Military  Bill  should  become  inoperative  in  that  State. 

It  will  thus  be  seen  that  the  Military  Bill  not  merely 
insisted  that  the  South  respect  the  civil  rights  and  enfran 
chise  the  negro,  but  set  a  military  government  over  the 
people  to  induce  them  to  accept  the  inevitable.  The 
North  was  determined.  It  said  :  "  You  must  respect  the 
rights  of  the  negro ;  you  must  include  him  in  your  basis 
of  representation,  and  you  must  admit  him  or  his  repre 
sentatives  to  a  share  in  your  State  deliberations,  and  to 
your  delegations  to  Congress." 

Naturally,  the  South  cried  out  against  this  "  terrible 
measure."  It  claimed  that  the  premises  of  the  bill  were 
utterly  wrong;  that  the  fires  of  hate  and  rebellion  were 
not  still  burning  in  the  South ;  that  Union  men  and 
negroes  were  not  persecuted;  that  while  occasional  in 
stances  of  assault  and  terrorism  occurred,  still  they  were 
the  exception,  and  not  the  rule.  The  press  all  over  the 
South  claimed  that  the  people  were  eager  for  peace,  and 
eager  for  a  return  to  perfect  union  with  the  North.  They 
did  not,  however,  admit  the  right  of  the  national  govern 
ment  to  pass  upon  the  qualifications  of  their  voters,  and 
they  could  not  bring  themselves  to  a  consideration  of 
placing  the  ballot  in  the  hands  of  the  poor,  ignorant, 
simple-minded  Africans  among  them. 

In  the  midst  of  the  almost  universal  dissent  of  the 
Southern  leaders,  General  Longstreet  upheld  the  measures 
which  were  included  under  the  Reconstruction  Acts  and 
Military  Bill.  In  a  letter  to  a  Unionist  in  New  Orleans, 
he  said : 

I  shall  be  happy  to  work  under  any  measure  that  promises  to 
bring  the  glory  of  peace  and  good  will  toward  men.  The  sword 
has  decided  in  favor  of  the  North,  and  what  they  claim  as  prin 
ciples  cease  to  be  principles  and  are  become  law.  It  is,  therefore, 
our  duty  to  abandon  ideas  that  are  obsolete,  and  conform  to  the 
requirements  of  law. 


Here  was  a  man,  not  only  brave  and  outspoken  in  his 
own  right,  but  a  man  who  stood  close  to  General  Grant, 
and  knew  to  the  full  his  fairness  and  justice.  Could  all 
the  leaders  of  the  South  have  taken  General  Longstreet's 
view,  reconstruction  would  have  been  possible  without 
further  bloodshed.  It  was  not  to  be.  The  waves  of  war 
must  break  and  die  again  and  again  on  the  beach  of  time. 

Wendell  Phillips  well  expressed  the  extreme  radical 
Northern  position  in  a  speech  in  Chicago : 

"  Had  Jefferson  Davis  succeeded,  he  would  have  had  a 
right  to  enforce  his  doctrine.  We  conquered,  and  we 
have  a  right  to  enforce  ours.  Our  President  is  a  traitor. 
He  is  laboring  to  save  the  South  from  the  consequences 
of  her  defeat.  Once  put  Southern  statesmen  inside  the 
Capitol,  and  we  give  them  power  to  fight  the  battle  over 
again  inside  the  government.  I  do  not  want  to  punish 
Johnson  ;  all  that  I  want  is  his  room.  The  seeds  of  recon 
struction  will  not  grow  in  a  day ;  the  South  is  not  going 
to  give  up  the  struggle  in  a  day.  What  we  need  is  North 
ern  men  at  the  seat  of  government." 

Referring  to  Grant's  repeated  utterances  that  he  was  a 
soldier,  and  not  a  politician,  Phillips  savagely  said : 

"  Grant,  the  most  loved  man  in  America,  when  he  said, 
'  I  put  on  the  uniform  of  no  party,'  fell  in  the  estimation 
of  the  people.  He  is  the  high  constable  of  the  nation. 
He  is  paid  to  make  our  flag  respected  in  New  Orleans. 
If  he  does  not  do  it,  he  fails  in  his  duty." 

The  orator  ended  by  calling  the  bill  for  the  military 
government  of  the  South  "  a  makeshift  and  a  thing  of  no 

In  such  a  time  as  this  no  living  man  could  have  pleased 
all  parties.  Bitter  and  burning  passions  were  uppermost, 
both  North  and  South.  General  Grant  continued  to  hold 
the  balance  between  the  extremists.  His  natural  tempera 
ment  was  that  of  calmness  and  justice.  He  angered  many 
Northern  friends  by  his  mildness  and  tolerance,  while 
every  military  order  he  issued  looking  to  the  better  govern 
ment  of  the  Southern  States  was  resented  and  criticized. 
With  all  his  gentleness  and  dislike  of  armed  battalions,  he 
did  not  allow  himself  to  forget  that  a  bloody  war  had  just 

360  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

ended,  and  that  firmness  and  decision  of  action  were  abso 
lutely  necessary  in  dealing  with  the  conquered  States. 

He  was  even  then  the  chief  man  of  the  nation,  and  no 
Southron  of  importance  since  the  close  of  the  war  had 
visited  Washington  without  presenting  himself  to  General 
Grant.  To  all  these  he  had  proffered  the  same  advice. 
To  every  one  he  had  spoken  very  plainly.  He  had  de 
clared  himself  to  be  their  friend,  and  as  their  friend  he 
had  warned  them  that  the  North  was  aroused  and  deter 
mined,  and  if  the  Fourteenth  Article  were  rejected, 
harsher  terms  would  surely  follow.  He  had  entreated 
with  them,  for  the  sake  of  the  Union,  for  the  sake  of 
peace,  to  accept  the  situation. 

As  the  Military  Bill  originally  passed  the  House,  the 
power  of  appointing  the  commanders  was  arbitrarily  taken 
from  the  hands  of  the  President  and  given  over  to  General 
Grant ;  and  it  was  further  provided  that  the  general  should 
not  be  removed  during  the  term  of  Andrew  Johnson's 
presidency.  It  was  designed  to  make  the  operation  of 
the  bill  entirely  independent  of  the  President,  whom  the 
Republicans  considered  a  traitor,  and  whom  they  were 
even  then  planning  to  impeach.  They  were  unwilling 
to  trust  his  rule,  and  were  unable  to  bring  him  to  trial. 
But  their  faith  in  General  Grant  knew  no  limit.  They 
were  quite  willing  to  give  him  the  most  dangerous  degree 
of  power  ever  intrusted  to  an  American. 

This  final  clause,  however,  at  the  general's  own  request, 
was  stricken  out  by  the  Senate,  and  the  appointments  left 
where  they  belonged,  in  the  hands  of  the  President  and 
the  Secretary  of  War,  with  the  advice  and  consent  of 
General  Grant.  Even  then  Grant's  power  was  almost 
absolute  over  eleven  States  of  the  Union.  By  the  terms 
of  the  bill  he  held  in  his  hand  the  fate  of  every  officer, 
almost  of  every  individual,  in  these  States.  With  any 
other  man  at  the  head  of  such  a  system  the  South  might 
well  have  been  alarmed.  They  seemed  not  to  have  been 
profoundly  uneasy  so  long  as  Andrew  Johnson  and  Gen 
eral  Grant  controlled  the  actual  working  out  of  the  measure. 
They  feared  no  tyranny  at  the  hands  of  the  general-in- 
chief,  though  they  cried  out  against  the  rule  of  the 


"  understrappers  "  and  "  buckle-polishers  "  of  this  military 
despotism.  They  did  not  know  until  long  after  that  the  bill 
was  drawn  with  the  advice  and  consent  of  General  Grant. 

When  the  bill  passed  by  a  heavy  vote  over  the  veto 
message  of  President  Johnson,  the  South  accepted  the 
defeat.  "  We  are  powerless  now  under  the  heel  of  mili 
tary  despots.  We  must  accept  the  situation  as  it  stands. 
Resistance  would  be  worse  than  folly ;  it  would  be  mad 
ness.  The  issue  before  our  people  now  is  not  whether 
the  negro  shall  have  the  right  of  suffrage  extended  to 
them,  or  not;  that  has  been  settled  by  stern  decree,  and 
we  must  govern  ourselves  accordingly." 

Other  papers  contained  articles  headed,  "  General  Grant 
the  Hope  of  the  South."  "  Our  only  resource  now  is  the 
magnanimity  of  those  who  know  the  perils  of  battle  and 
the  trials  of  the  camp.  They  alone  can  estimate  rightly 
the  blessings  of  peace  and  harmony.  Grant  is  endeared 
to  them  by  all  the  associations  of  successful  war.  His 
dauntless  courage  is  written  in  the  history  of  bloody  cam 
paigns.  His  magnanimity  at  Lee's  surrender  touched 
every  Southerner.  Repeated  acts  of  generosity  and  kind 
ness  adorn  his  intercourse  with  us.  In  the  midst  of 
troubles  and  anxieties  and  menaces  he  has  been  just. 
His  love  of  constitutional  liberty  is  not  less  than  his  valor 
and  magnanimity.  When  the  enactment  of  Congress 
vested  in  him  the  sole  power  to  enforce  the  existing  mili 
tary  law,  he  voluntarily  subjected  all  acts  and  all  proceed 
ings  to  the  approval  of  the  President  "  ;  and  looking  forward 
to  his  possible  candidacy  for  the  Presidency,  one  article 
concluded  by  asking:  "  Could  there  be  a  greater  peace- 
offering  by  the  soldiers  of  the  South  to  their  victorious 
brethren  in  the  North  than  Ulysses  S.  Grant?" 

This  article  was  also  quoted  with  approval  by  other 
papers,  and  at  about  the  same  time  General  Lee  publicly 
expressed  a  decided  hope  that  the  Union  of  the  States 
might  endure  for  all  time,  and  further  declared  that  he 
regarded  the  course  of  President  Johnson  and  General 
Grant  as  liberal  and  humane.  He  also  counseled  submis 
sion  to  the  law.  He  could  have  done  much  to  restore 
good  feeling,  but  he  remained  coldly  negative. 

362  LIFE   OF    GRANT 

General  Grant's  course  continued  to  be  conservative 
and  just.  The  military  commanders  selected  by  him, 
with  the  advice  of  Johnson  and  Stanton,  were  considered 
wise,  and  in  his  instructions  to  these  commanders,  and  in 
all  subsequent  letters  to  them,  he  counseled  moderation 
and  forbearance  toward  the  people  of  the  South.  No 
assault  upon  his  action,  and  no  exasperation  of  turbulent 
mobs  in  the  South,  could  render  him  vindictive.  His 
whole  mind  seemed  set  on  rebuilding  the  nation,  with  the 
least  military  interference  consistent  with  insuring  peace 
and  tranquillity  to  both  races.  When  the  provocations 
to  arbitrary  exercise  of  power  were  greatest,  the  Southern 
press  was  forced  to  acknowledge  that  no  man  had  suffered 
a  deliberate  injustice  at  the  hands  of  General  Grant.  That 
the  malcontents  held  him  in  wholesome  respect  is  also 
certain.  He  admitted  no  trifling. 

At  the  same  time  the  Northern  radicals  looked  to  him 
to  check  the  reckless  course  of  the  President.  The  first 
collision  between  them  had  taken  place  in  October  of  the 
previous  year,  just  before  the  autumn  elections.  At  the 
time  trouble  seemed  likely  to  follow  between  the  State 
authorities  of  Maryland,  which  were  friendly  to  Johnson, 
and  those  of  the  city  of  Baltimore.  The  governor  had 
appealed  to  the  President  for  armed  assistance,  and  John 
son  had  made  several  attempts  to  induce  General  Grant 
to  send  United  States  troops  into  the  State.  Grant  had 
protested  very  earnestly  against  this,  declaring  that  no 
reason  existed  for  giving  or  promising  military  aid  to 
support  the  laws  of  Maryland.  He  had  then  visited  the  city 
and  conferred  with  the  police  commissioners,  and  through 
his  influence  the  questions  in  dispute  had  been  left  to  a 
decision  of  the  court.  This  incident,  however,  had  con 
vinced  Grant  that  Johnson  was  quite  capable  of  a  danger 
ous,  if  not  disloyal,  act. 

In  a  confidential  letter  to  General  Sheridan,  he  spoke 
of  the  violent  differences  which  had  grown  up  between 
the  President  and  Congress,  and  said : 

I  very  much  fear  we  are  fast  approaching  the  time  when  the 
President  will  want  to  declare  Congress  itself  illegal,  uncon 
stitutional  and  revolutionary.  Commanders  in  Southern  States 


will  have  to  take  great  care  to  see,  if  a  crisis  does  come,  that  no 
armed  headway  can  be  made  against  the  Union.  For  this  rea 
son  it  will  be  very  desirable  that  Texas  should  have  no  reason 
able  excuse  for  calling  out  the  militia  authorized  by  their  legis 
lature.  Indeed,  it  should  be  prevented.  I  write  this  in  strict 
confidence,  but  to  let  you  know  how  matters  stand  in  my  opinion, 
so  that  you  may  square  your  official  acting  accordingly.  I  gave 
orders  quietly,  two  or  three  weeks  since,  for  the  removal  of  all 
arms  in  store  in  the  Southern  States  to  Northern  arsenals.  I  wish 
that  you  would  see  that  those  from  Baton  Rouge  and  other 
places  within  your  command  are  being  moved  rapidly  by  the 
ordnance  officers  having  the  matter  in  charge. 

Johnson  would  have  removed  Grant,  had  he  dared  to 
do  so.  He  well  knew  the  danger  of  antagonizing  Grant's 
friends,  however,  and  determined,  therefore,  to  send  him 
on  a  pretended  mission  to  Mexico,  and  to  put  Sherman, 
for  the  time,  in  his  place.  He  supposed  that  Grant,  be 
cause  of  his  profound  interest  in  Mexican  affairs,  would 
accept  this  mission  at  once,  and  would  be  absent  during 
the  elections  in  Maryland,  which,  for  some  reason,  he 
desired.  But  the  plan  did  not  work  out.  Grant  under 
stood  too  well  the  aims  and  character  of  the  President. 
He  politely  declined.  He  wished  to  be  on  the  ground, 
to  prevent  trouble,  if  possible. 

At  a  meeting  of  the  cabinet  to  which  he  was  summoned, 
his  detailed  instructions  were  read  to  him  by  the  Secre 
tary  of  State,  precisely  as  though  he  had  not  refused 
the  honor.  He  was  now  thoroughly  aroused,  and  before 
the  whole  cabinet  declared  his  unwillingness  to  accept  the 

The  President  became  very  angry.  Turning  to  the 
Attorney-General,  he  inquired:  "Mr.  Attorney-General, 
is  there  any  reason  why  General  Grant  should  not  obey  my 
orders?  Is  he  in  any  way  ineligible  to  this  position?" 

Grant  started  to  his  feet  at  once,  and  exclaimed :  "  I 
can  answer  that  question,  Mr.  President,  without  referring 
it  to  the  Attorney-General.  I  am  an  American  citizen,  and 
eligible  to  any  office  to  which  any  American  is  eligible.  I 
am  an  officer  of  the  army,  and  bound  to  obey  your  mili 
tary  orders.  But  this  is  a  civil  office,  a  purely  diplomatic 

364  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

duty,  and  I  cannot  be  compelled  to  undertake  it.  Any 
legal  military  order  you  give  me  I  will  obey,  but  this  is 
civil,  and  not  military,  and  I  decline  the  duty.  No  power 
on  earth  can  compel  me  to  it." 

He  said  not  another  word.  No  one  replied,  and  he  left 
the  cabinet-chamber. 

The  President  then  telegraphed  for  General  Sherman, 
who  was  in  the  mountains  of  New  Mexico.  Sherman 
returned  at  once  to  Washington,  but  reported  directly  to 
General  Grant.  He  found  Grant  very  much  moved  by 
what  he  called  the  plot  of  President  Johnson  to  get  rid 
of  him.  He  again  denied  the  right  of  the  President  to 
order  him  on  such  a  mission,  and  said  he  had  determined 
to  disobey  the  order  and  stand  the  consequences. 

Having  the  matter  thoroughly  in  hand,  General  Sher 
man  went  to  the  President,  who  greeted  him  with  great 
cordiality.  "  I  sent  for  you,  general,  to  command  the 
army  in  General  Grant's  absence."  He  then  explained  his 

Sherman  not  only  told  him  that  General  Grant  would 
not  go,  but  said :  "  You  cannot  afford  to  quarrel  with 
General  Grant,  Mr.  President.  I  can  be  spared  much 
better  than  he." 

With  the  two  greatest  soldiers  of  the  army  opposed  to 
his  plan,  the  President  decided  to  submit  gracefully. 
"  Certainly,"  he  said ;  "  if  you  will  go,  that  will  answer 

In  this  wise  did  the  loyal  Sherman  repay  his  chief  for 
his  consideration  and  kindness  when  Stanton  and  the 
President  were  perfectly  certain  he  was  arranging  treason 
able  terms  with  General  Johnston. 



ON  August  5,  1867,  only  one  cabinet  officer  represent 
ing  the  Union  sentiment  of  Abraham  Lincoln  remained 
in  office.     This  was  Edwin  M.  Stanton,  Secretary  of  War; 
and  Johnson  determined  to  make  a  clean  sweep  by  remov 
ing  him.      He  addressed  to  him  the  following  curt  note : 

SIR  :  Public  considerations  of  the  highest  character  constrain 
me  to  say  that  your  resignation  as  Secretary  of  War  will  be  ac 

To  this  note  Secretary  Stanton  replied : 

Public  considerations  of  the  highest  character  constrain  me 
not  to  resign  the  office  of  Secretary  of  War  before  the  next 
meeting  of  Congress. 

General  Grant,  being  informed  some  days  before  of  the 
President's  design  to  remove  Stanton,  had  written  a  letter 
remonstrating,  wherein  he  had  reviewed  the  splendid  work 
which  the  Secretary  had  done  for  the  Union,  and  spoke  of 
his  incorruptible  and  zealous  spirit.  The  general  had  not 
expected  to  check  Johnson,  but  had  wished  to  put  himself 
on  record  in  opposition.  He  had  been  in  controversy 
with  Stanton  over  the  question  of  the  power  of  the  War 
Department,  but  he  recognized  his  loyalty  and  zeal  at 
this  point. 

After  a  week's  notice,  the  President  issued  an  order 
suspending  Secretary  Stanton,  and  appointing  General 
Grant  Secretary  of  War  ad  interim. 


366  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

This  placed  General  Grant  in  the  most  delicate  and  try 
ing  position  of  his  public  life.  His  letter  remonstrating 
against  Stanton's  removal  was  not  made  public  at  the 
time,  and  neither  Stanton  nor  the  radical  Republicans 
understood  his  position.  They  were  determined  that  he 
should  be  a  politician,  and  he  was  equally  sure  that  his 
position  was  that  of  a  soldier  under  command  of  his  su 
perior  officer.  It  was  not  for  him  to  question  the  legality 
of  President  Johnson's  removal  of  Stanton,  or  of  the  Ten 
ure  of  Office  Bill  (which  had  been  passed  to  prevent  just 
such  removals),  but  it  was  his  duty  to  shut  out  some  less 
loyal  man.  Therefore,  he  assumed  the  office  of  Secretary 
of  War,  and  said  nothing,  not  even  to  Stanton,  and  for  a 
time  the  two  men  misunderstood  each  other. 

Encouraged  by  his  success,  President  Johnson  passed  at 
once  to  the  removal  of  Generals  Sickles  and  Sheridan,  two 
of  Grant's  most  trusted  district  commanders.  He  was  re 
solved  to  stop  "  reconstruction  by  military  means  "  so  far  as 
possible  by  putting  in  the  places  of  these  loyal  and  soldierly 
officers  men  who  would  less  stringently  uphold  the  claims 
of  the  negro,  and  more  fully  recognize  local  white  author 
ity  and  local  government.  He  was  now  thoroughly  en 
raged,  and  determined  to  assert  himself  as  against  the 
power  of  General  Grant,  or  the  loyal  North,  or  of  any  one 

Within  a  week  he  sent  a  letter  to  General  Grant, 
wherein  was  inclosed  an  order  removing  General  Sheridan 
as  commander  of  the  Fifth  Military  District,  and  substi 
tuting  General  George  H.  Thomas.*  He  also  invited  sug 
gestions  from  Grant,  who  immediately  replied : 

I  am  pleased  to  avail  myself  of  your  invitation  to  urge— ear 
nestly  urge,  urge  in  the  name  of  a  patriotic  people — that  this 
order  should  not  be  insisted  upon.  It  is  the  will  of  the  country 
that  General  Sheridan  should  not  be  removed  from  his  present 
command.  This  is  a  republic,  where  the  will  of  the  people  is  the 
law  of  the  land.  I  beg  that  their  voice  may  be  heard.  General 
Sheridan  has  performed  his  civil  duties  faithfully  and  intelligently. 
His  removal  will  only  be  regarded  as  an  effort  to  defeat  the 

*  General  Thomas  declined  on  the  score  of  his  health,  and  General  Han 
cock  was  substituted. 


laws  of  Congress.  It  will  be  interpreted  by  the  unrecon 
structed  ...  as  a  triumph.  It  will  embolden  them  to  renewed 
opposition  to  the  will  of  the  loyal  masses,  believing  that  they 
have  the  Executive  with  them. 

General  Grant  loved  Sheridan,  and  could  not  sit  quietly 
by  and  see  him  humiliated.  He  wished,  also,  to  have 
him  close  to  the  Mexican  border,  ready  for  an  emergency. 

To  this  letter,  which  had  its  weak  points,  the  President 
replied  with  great  boldness  and  energy,  considering  his 
long  silence: 

I  am  not  aware  that  the  question  of  retaining  General  Sheri 
dan  in  command  of  the  Fifth  Military  District  has  ever  been 
submitted  to  the  people  themselves  for  determination.  .  .  . 
General  Sheridan  has  rendered  himself  exceedingly  obnoxious  by 
the  manner  in  which  he  has  exercised  the  powers  conferred  by 
Congress,  and  still  more  so  by  the  resort  to  authority  not  granted 
by  law.  .  .  .  His  removal  cannot  be  regarded,  therefore,  as  an 
effort  to  defeat  the  laws  of  Congress. 

He  ended  by  asserting  his  Presidential  prerogatives. 

These  letters  (though  Grant's  was  private)  were  made 
public  not  long  after,  and  were  taken  to  be  of  enormous 
importance  in  the  South.  The  Southern  press  exulted, 
saying,  "  President  Johnson  has  at  last  asserted  himself," 
and  that  "  in  an  unguarded  hour  the  inevitable  cigar  has 
fallen  from  General  Grant's  lips,  and  his  real  mind  has  been 
revealed."  On  the  other  hand,  the  extremists  of  the  North 
regarded  Grant's  letter  as  an  expression  of  weakness.  He 
was  accused  of  having  surrendered  to  the  President.  He 
had  pleaded  when  he  should  have  commanded.  It  really 
showed  his  regard  for  law  and  order. 

Wendell  Phillips  issued  a  manifesto,  in  which  he  said : 

"  Grant  has  at  last  spoken,  and  blundered.  This  was 
our  St.  Michael,  whose  resistless  sword  was  to  mow  down 
the  Satan  of  the  fallen  host.  .  .  .  The  general  of  the 
United  States  is  to-day  a  weed  caught  in  the  Presidential 
maelstrom.  Let  no  Grant  man,  after  this,  call  Johnson  a 
clumsy  knave." 

Others  said  :  "  Grant  has  surrendered  to  the  President  "  ; 
and  even  his  friends  admitted  that  he  had  greatly  disap- 

368  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

pointed  the  American  people  at  this  point.  It  was  ob 
served  at  the  time  that  the  Southern  press  was  very  much 
emboldened  by  the  President's  successful  opposition  to 
Grant,  and  the  corresponding  weakening  of  the  Military 
Department,  the  very  thing  Grant  had  feared. 

Finding  this  letter  (which  sprang  from  his  love  for 
Sheridan)  misunderstood,  Grant  immediately  resumed  his 
cigar  and  his  silence,  enduring  all  the  misinterpretations 
which  were  to  be  borne  during  the  four  months  in  which 
he  filled  the  complicate  positions  of  Secretary  of  War  and 
General  of  the  Army.  He  did  his  duty  faithfully  and  well. 
He  privately  opposed  every  measure  of  the  President's 
which  he  regarded  as  unwise  or  unwarranted,  but  retained 
the  office  to  prevent  some  one  more  in  harmony  with 
Johnson  from  taking  his  place.  He  continued  to  carry  out 
the  laws  of  Congress.  He  repeatedly  overruled  General 
Hancock,  who  had  succeeded  to  Sheridan's  district,  and 
who  seemed  quite  as  ready  to  carry  out  the  will  of  the 
President  as  the  will  of  Congress. 

In  all  the  orders  sent  out  to  the  district  commanders, 
General  Grant  endeavored  to  maintain  a  strictly  neutral 
position.  His  orders  were  : 

Preserve  the  peace.  .  .  .  The  military  cannot  set  up  to  be  the 
judge  as  to  which  set  of  election  judges  have  the  right  to  control, 
but  must  confine  their  action  to  putting  down  hostile  mobs. 

Again  he  said : 

You  are  to  prevent  conflict.  Your  mission  is  to  preserve  peace, 
and  not  to  take  sides  in  political  difference.  You  are  to  prevent 
mobs  from  aiding  either  party.  If  called  upon  legally  to  inter 
fere,  your  duty  is  plain.  .  .  .  The  military  cannot  be  made  use  of 
to  defeat  the  executive  of  a  state  in  enforcing  the  laws  of  a  state. 

He  kept  the  duties  of  his  twofold  office  distinct  during 
all  this  time,  and  gravely  wrote  orders  as  Secretary  of 
War  Grant  to  General  U.  S.  Grant,  and  made  reports  as 
General  Grant  to  Secretary  of  War  Grant.  The  two 
offices  were  on  opposite  sides  of  the  street,  and  to  play 
the  two  parts  he  was  obliged  frequently  to  cross  and  re- 
cross  the  intervening  space.  Badeau  remarks  that  he 

GRANT    AS    SECRETARY    OF    WAR  369 

seemed  to  be  a  bit  more  formal  when  on  the  cabinet  side 
of  the  avenue,  and  that  he  called  his  aides  by  their  first 
name,  or  at  least  spoke  to  them  without  the  use  of  their 
title,  when  at  army  headquarters. 

It  was  not  without  its  humorous  complications,  but  it 
was  too  wearisome  and  galling  for  the  general  to  perceive 
much  fun  in  it.  He  hated  the  wrangling  to  which  he  was 
made  party  as  a  member  of  the  cabinet,  and  he  asked  to 
be  excused  from  the  purely  political  part  of  his  position. 
He  was  a  soldier  discharging  his  duties,  and  did  not  think 
the  President  had  a  right  to  demand  that  he  should  be  de 
tained  and  badgered  by  questions  relating  to  party  policy. 

He  waited  patiently  for  Congress  to  assemble,  hoping 
to  be  then  released. 

At  last  the  Senate  took  the  matter  in  hand.  Grant, 
during  his  entire  five  months  of  retention  of  the  office,  had 
neither  affirmed  nor  denied  the  legality  of  Johnson's  posi 
tion  ;  but  as  the  Senate  began  inquiry,  he  gave  the  Presi 
dent  to  understand  that,  in  case  Stanton  was  sustained,  he 
would  immediately  resign  in  Stanton's  favor. 

To  this  Johnson  verbally  replied  that  he  desired  Gen 
eral  Grant  to  retain  the  office  in  order  to  test  the  legality 
of  the  act,  and  that  he  would  be  responsible  for  Grant's 
action,  and  pay  all  fines  which  might  be  imposed.  To  this 
Grant  replied  asking  for  written  instructions  concerning 
his  duties. 

On  January  14,  being  notified  that  the  Senate  had  not 
concurred  in  the  removal  of  Stanton,  General  Grant  made 
good  his  word,  turned  the  key  in  the  door  of  the  War 
Department,  and  sent  a  note  to  President  Johnson,  as  fol 
lows  :  "  My  functions  as  Secretary  of  War  ad  interim 
ceased  at  the  moment  of  the  receiving  of  the  within 

Stanton  immediately  resumed  the  office,  and  sent  a  very 
brusque  note  to  General  Grant,  saying  that  he  would  like 
to  see  him.  There  was  nothing  in  Stanton's  words  or 
actions  to  show  that  he  appreciated  the  delicacy  and  cour 
tesy  on  the  part  of  General  Grant  during  this  long  and 
troublesome  period ;  in  fact,  he  renewed  his  claims  to 
command  in  the  field. 

37°  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

President  Johnson  was  thoroughly  enraged,  and  imme 
diately  claimed  that  General  Grant  had  violated  his  promise 
to  give  due  warning,  and  that  he  had  all  along  acquiesced 
in  Stanton's  removal,  and  that  he  had  not  properly  notified 
the  President  of  his  change  of  opinion  in  the  matter. 
"  Therefore,"  the  President  concluded,  "  I  am  taken  by 
surprise  by  your  sudden  surrender  of  the  keys  of  the 

To  this  Grant  replied : 

The  course  you  would  have  it  understood  that  I  agreed  to 
pursue  was  in  violation  of  law  and  without  orders  from  you, 
while  the  course  I  did  pursue,  and  which  I  never  doubted  you 
fully  understood,  was  in  accordance  with  law,  and  not  in  disobe 
dience  to  any  orders  of  my  superiors.  And  now,  Mr.  President, 
when  my  honor  as  a  soldier  and  integrity  as  a  man  have  been  so 
violently  assailed,  pardon  me  for  saying  that  I  can  but  regard 
this  whole  matter  from  beginning  to  end  as  an  attempt  to  involve 
me  in  a  resistance  of  law  for  which  you  hesitated  to  assume  the 
responsibility,  and  thus  destroy  my  character  before  the  country. 

This  led  to  a  heated  public  controversy  between  General 
Grant  and  President  Johnson  in  respect  of  a  final  cabinet 
meeting  on  a  Saturday,  wherein  Johnson  reasserted  that  he 
had  promised  to  take  all  the  imprisonment  and  pay  all  the 
fines  that  might  be  imposed  upon  General  Grant  for  re 
taining  the  office  in  opposition  to  the  congressional  will. 
"  When  he  arose  to  leave  the  room,  I  repeated  the  remark, 
for  I  wanted  to  know  whether  or  not  he  intended  to  hold 
on  to  the  office,  designing  to  relieve  him  if  it  was  his  pur 
pose  to  yield  it." 

To  this  letter  General  Grant  replied,  saying  that  he  had 
requested  the  President  to  give  him  instructions  in  writing 
of  what  he  wished  him  to  do. 

I  stated  that  I  had  not  looked  particularly  into  the  Tenure  of 
Office  Bill,  but  that  what  I  had  stated  was  a  general  principle,  and 
if  I  should  change  my  mind  in  this  particular  case  I  would  in 
form  him  of  the  fact. 

Subsequently,  on  reading  the  Tenure  of  Office  Bill  closely,  I 
found  that  I  could  not,  without  violation  of  the  law,  refuse  to 
vacate  the  office  of  Secretary  of  War  the  moment  Mr.  Stanton 
was  reinstated  by  the  Senate,  even  though  the  President  should 


order  me  to  retain  it,  which  he  never  did.  Taking  this  view  of 
the  matter,  and  learning  on  Saturday,  the  nth  instant,  that  the 
Senate  had  taken  up  the  subject  of  Mr.  Stanton's  suspension,  after 
some  conversation  with  General  Sherman  and  some  members  of 
my  staff,  I  stated  that  the  law  left  me  no  discretion  as  to  my 
action,  should  Mr.  Stanton  be  reinstated,  and  that  I  intended  to 
inform  the  President.  I  went  to  the  President  for  the  sole  pur 
pose  of  making  this  decision  known,  and  did  so  make  it  known. 
In  doing  this  I  fulfilled  the  promise  made  in  our  last  preceding 
conversation  on  the  subject. 

The  President,  however,  instead  of  accepting  my  view,  .  .  . 
contended  that  he  had  suspended  Mr.  Stanton  under  authority 
given  by  the  Constitution.  ...  I  stated  that  the  law  was  bind 
ing  on  me,  constitutional  or  not,  until  set  aside  by  the  proper 
tribunal.  An  hour  or  more  was  consumed,  each  reiterating  his 
views  on  this  subject,  until,  it  getting  late,  the  President  said  he 
would  see  me  again. 

I  did  not  agree  to  call  again  on  Monday,  nor  was  I  sent  for 
by  the  President  until  the  following  Monday.  With  Mr.  Stanton 
I  had  no  communication.  On  Tuesday  General  Comstock,  who 
had  carried  my  official  letter,  and  who  saw  the  President  open  and 
read  my  communication,  brought  back  to  me  from  the  President 
word  that  he  wanted  to  see  me  that  day  at  the  cabinet  meeting. 

This  meeting  opened  precisely  as  though  he  were  a 
member  of  the  cabinet  (Grant  went  on  to  say).  It  was 
Johnson's  intention  to  ignore  all  that  he  had  said  and 
written  in  opposition.  The  conversation  was  practically  a 
review  of  all  that  had  gone  before. 

To  Grant's  letter  President  Johnson  replied,  saying  the 
interview  had  terminated  in  a  distinct  understanding  that 
if,  on  reflection,  General  Grant  should  conclude  it  his  duty 
to  surrender  the  office  upon  action  in  Mr.  Stanton's  favor, 
he  should  return  the  key,  in  order,  if  he  desired  to  do  so, 
that  the  President  might  designate  some  one  to  succeed 
Grant.  He  boldly  said : 

It  was  my  purpose  to  relieve  you  from  the  further  discharge 
of  the  duties  of  Secretary  of  War,  and  to  appoint  some  other 
person  in  that  capacity.  ...  It  was  then  understood  that 
there  should  be  a  further  conference  on  Monday,  by  which  time 
I  supposed  you  would  be  prepared  to  inform  me  of  your  final 
decision.  You  failed,  however,  to  fulfill  the  engagement. 

372  LIFE    OF   GRANT 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  Stanton  forestalled  Grant  by  going 
at  an  early  hour  to  the  adjutant-general,  and  demanding 
the  key.  When  Grant  arrived  Stanton  was  in  possession  of 
the  office,  and  Grant  made  no  further  effort  in  the  matter. 

The  issue  was  now  straight  and  clear  between  Grant 
and  Johnson.  In  plain  terms,  it  was  a  question  of  who 
lied  in  the  matter,  and  with  regard  to  the  larger  number 
of  people  in  the  Union  decision  was  prompt  and  immedi 
ate.  If  there  was  one  thing  for  which  General  Grant  was 
noted,  it  was  for  his  truthfulness  of  speech.  With  the 
exception  of  the  copperhead  press  and  the  more  extreme 
papers  of  the  South,  the  country  declared  in  favor  of  Gen 
eral  Grant,  and  he  came  out  of  it  strengthened  rather  than 
weakened  in  the  judgment  of  the  unprejudiced. 

This  controversy  was  most  important ;  it  not  only  vin 
dicated  General  Grant  in  the  opinion  of  the  loyal  men  of 
the  nation,  but  brought  him  fairly  and  squarely  into  poli 
tics.  He  could  no  longer  remain  a  simple  soldier  doing 
his  duty  under  command  of  President  Johnson.  He  was 
forced  to  take  sides.  He  then  and  there  joined  the  Re 
publican  party. 

There  can  be  no  question  of  his  pleasure  at  being  set 
right  before  the  loyal  people  of  the  country.  He  was 
tired  of  occupying  a  false  position,  and  his  letters  made 
his  position  plain  with  the  Northern  people,  though  it 
drew  the  line  sharply  between  his  friends  and  his  enemies. 
In  proportion  as  his  position  became  defined  in  the  public 
mind,  he  was  accused  of  departing  from  his  stand  at  the 
close  of  the  war,  and  from  the  gentle  policy  of  Lincoln. 
"  The  rebels  and  copperheads  opened  their  batteries  on 
him  during  January  all  along  the  line,"  but  this  only 
rallied  his  friends  around  him  the  stronger. 

The  impeachment  trial  long  threatening  now  came  for 
ward  with  a  rush.  The  whole  land  was  turbulent  with 
discussion.  Originally  General  Grant  had  been  very  much 
opposed  to  this  measure.  He  was  now  convinced  that 
events  justified  it.  Johnson's  removals  of  Sheridan  and 
Stanton,  and  his  perfidious  course  toward  himself,  had 
convinced  him  that  the  President  was  a  very  dangerous 
man,  and  should  be  removed. 


He  was  called  before  the  committee,  and  gave  his  testi 
mony  without  anger  and  without  the  slightest  distortion 
of  the  facts.  He  repeated  what  his  own  words  had  been 
as  clearly  and  as  simply  as  ever  in  his  life.  He  was  not 
capable  of  deceit  in  matters  of  this  kind.  At  the  same 
time,  he  was  accused  of  urging  senators  to  vote  in  favor  of 

He  was  at  first  much  disappointed  at  the  failure  of  im 
peachment  proceedings,  but,  as  usual,  remained  discreetly 
silent.  "  Afterward  his  judgment  changed,  and  he  came 
to  think  it  better  for  the  country,  on  the  whole,  that  the 
President  should  remain  in  office  until  the  end  of  his  term." 
He  was  heartily  glad  when  the  turmoil  of  the  impeach 
ment  ceased.  Johnson  was  profoundly  instructed  by  the 
close  vote,  and  was  saved  from  utter  ruin  only  by  promise 
of  a  change  of  policy. 

"  The  result  of  the  trial  was  a  crushing  blow  to  Stan- 
ton,"  says  Badeau.  "  It  implied  that  he  should  not  have 
remained  in  the  cabinet  against  the  will  of  his  chief,  and 
it  became  necessary  for  him  to  at  once  resign."  General 
Schofield  was  made  Secretary  in  his  stead.  At  first  Grant 
was  opposed  to  Schofield's  acceptance  of  the  position,  but, 
after  some  thought,  revised  his  opinion,  and  the  new  Sec 
retary  entered  the  cabinet  in  full  harmony  with  the  gen 
eral  of  the  army.  This  ended  the  contest  over  the  war 
office,  and  prevented  any  violent  measures  on  the  part  of 
the  President  toward  General  Grant  and  the  officers  com 
manding  in  the  districts  of  the  South. 

The  lenient  policy  which  Johnson  had  pursued  with  re 
gard  to  the  military  districts  under  the  peculiar  political 
conditions  then  existing  had  led  to  the  formation  of  secret 
bodies  of  men  in  Alabama  and  Mississippi,  whose  purpose 
was  to  intimidate  the  negro  and  drive  out  the  Republican 
partizans  of  these  States.  Early  in  the  year  the  first 
notices  of  the  famous  Kuklux  Klan  began  to  appear. 
In  the  Richmond  "  Examiner,"  in  March,  appeared  an 
article  wherein  great  delight  was  expressed  over  the 
coming  of  the  famous  raiders  to  Virginia.  The  Klan 
haa  sprung  up  in  the  West,  but  now  it  had  crossed  the 

374  LIFE    OF    GRANT 

It  was  too  much  to  expect  that  the  people  of  the  South 
should  in  one  year,  or  in  two  years  or  a  score  of  years,  be 
able  to  eradicate  from  their  midst  all  the  hate  and  bitter 
ness  and  lawlessness  engendered  by  four  years  of  war. 
The  Kuklux,  and  all  that  it  meant,  was  simply  the  sur 
viving  spirit  of  the  war  carried  forward  in  new  forms. 
Opposition  to  the  power  of  the  United  States  was  now 
secret,  scattered,  nocturnal,  and  disorganized,  but  none 
the  less  effective. 

General  Grant  understood  the  meaning  of  this  thing, 
and  at  once  directed  the  commanders  to  ferret  out  and 
crush,  if  possible,  these  bands  of  lawless  men ;  but  he  was 
not  aided  by  the  Executive  as  he  should  have  been,  and 
the  trouble  spread. 

Late  in  the  year  an  article  appeared  in  the  Louisville 
"  Journal "  which  was  largely  quoted  in  the  South,  and 
changed  the  whole  tone  of  discussion.  The  heading  of 
this  article  denoted  its  character :  "  General  Grant  the 
Father  of  the  Reconstruction  Scheme."  The  cause  of  the 
article  was  the  publication  of  a  paper  (written  nearly  two 
years  before)  by  General  Grant  as  indorsement  of  a  letter 
by  General  Sheridan,  wherein  he  said : 

In  my  opinion,  the  great  number  of  murders  of  Union  men 
and  freedmen  in  Texas  (which  are  not  only  unpunished,  but  un- 
investigated)  constitutes  practically  a  state  of  insurrection ;  and 
believing  it  to  be  the  province  and  duty  of  every  good  government 
to  afford  protection  to  the  lives,  liberties,  and  property  of  her 
citizens,  I  would  recommend  the  declaration  of  martial  law  in 

"This  letter  was  dated  January  29,  1866,  and  on  the 
6th  of  February  Mr.  Thaddeus  Stevens  reported  the 
Reconstruction  Bill  "  ;  and  this,  the  Louisville  "  Journal  " 
now  informed  the  South,  was  largely  due  to  General  Grant. 
"  General  Grant  undeniably  stands  confessed  as  the  father 
of  the  reconstruction  scheme.  He  belongs  to  the  radicals. 
Their  title  to  him  is  clear.  Let  them  take  him ;  they  are 
welcome  to  him.  He  is  a  stupendous  humbug.  There  is 
a  meanness  in  his  mousing  for  the  Presidency  which  is 
inexpressibly  sickening." 

GRANT   AS    SECRETARY    OF    WAR  375 

In  comment  upon  this,  the  "  Intelligencer  "  said : 
"  The  whole  country  has  wondered  at  the  reticence  of 
General  Grant.  It  will  wonder  no  longer.  The  game  he 
has  been  playing  is  now  exposed.  He  has  unwarily 
shown  his  hand.  We  look  to  the  National  Democracy  of 
the  North  and  West,  and  the  white  race  inhabiting  every 
section  of  the  United  States  untainted  with  negro  radical 
ism,  to  accomplish  the  overthrow,  not  only  of  General 
Grant,  but  every  oth^r  candidate  who  does  not  stand  upon 
the  platform  on  whicn  is  inscribed  :  '  This  is  a  white  man's 
governmenf  ^nd  must  be  maintained.' ' 


GRANT    SAVES    THE    UNION    PAkfr 

days  after  the  acquittal  of  President  Johnson, 
the  Republican  party  assembled  in  convention  in 
Chicago  to  nominate  their  candidates  for  the  next  cam 
paign.  Six  hundred  and  fifty  delegates,  representing 
every  State  in  the  Union,  including  the  unreconstructed 
States  of  the  South,  presented  their  credentials  and  were 
accepted.  Only  one  name  was  seriously  mentioned  for 
first  place  on  the  ticket,  and  that  was  General  Grant's. 
His  fame  was  overshadowing.  There  were  five  candidates 
for  the  second  place. 

The  city  was  tremendously  excited,  and  vast  crowds  of 
people  poured  in  from  all  the  surrounding  country  with 
something  of  the  same  fervor  of  interest  that  had  been  ex 
hibited  in  the  convention  which  nominated  Abraham  Lin 
coln  for  the  first  time.  Indeed,  these  men  considered  that 
they  were  again  met  to  save  the  nation  and  all  they  had 
fought  to  secure. 

It  was,  of  course,  a  convention  dominated  by  the  mili 
tary  spirit.  Nearly  all  of  the  great  commanders  of  the 
Northern  army  were  there,  enthusiastic  for  their  chief. 
The  hall,  decorated  for  the  purpose  of  expressing  the  pa 
triotic  zeal  of  the  delegates,  made  lavish  use  of  the  red, 
white,  and  blue  of  the  Union  flag,  and  every  allusion  to 
the  war  and  its  successes  gave  rise  to  the  most  fervid  ap 
plause.  The  members  could  hardly  wait  until  the  ordi 
nary  formalities  were  over,  so  eager  were  they  to  honor 



At  length  the  point  was  reached  where  nominations 
were  in  order,  and  General  Logan,  rising,  said: 

"  Then,  sir,  in  the  name  of  the  loyal  citizens  and  soldiers 
and  sailors  of  this  great  republic,  in  the  name  of  loyalty, 
liberty,  humanity,  and  justice,  I  nominate  as  candidate  for 
the  Chief  Magistracy  of  this  nation  Ulysses  S.  Grant." 

This  speech,  made,  with  propriety,  by  the  man  who  had 
introduced  Colonel  Grant  to  his  first  regiment,  aroused 
the  greatest  enthusiasm.  The  audience  rose  with  tumul 
tuous  cheers  for  Grant.  No  other  name  was  heard.  So 
great  and  so  instantaneous  was  the  emotional  response  that 
a  delegate  from  South  Carolina,  as  soon  as  he  could  be 
heard,  moved  that  the  vote  be  taken  by  acclamation. 
"  No,  no!"  was  the  reply.  The  States  wanted  an  oppor 
tunity  to  speak,  and  the  roll  was  called. 

Alabama  gave  eighteen  votes  for  Grant.  California 
shouted :  "  We  come  here  six  thousand  miles  to  cast  our 
votes  for  General  Grant."  Colorado  said:  "The  Rocky 
Mountains  of  Colorado  bring  General  Grant  all  they  have 
— six  votes.  Florida,  "  the  land  of  flowers,"  gave  six,  and 
Georgia,  through  Governor  Brown,  cast  her  eighteen  votes 
for  General  Grant,  "  heartily  desiring  to  speed  the  restora 
tion  of  the  Union,  harmony  and  peace  and  good  govern 
ment."  Kansas,  the  "State  of  John  Brown,"  gave  him 
six  votes.  Louisiana  said :  "  We  propose  to  fight  it  out 
on  that  line,  if  it  takes  all  summer."  Ohio,  which  had  the 
honor  of  being  the  mother  of  the  great  leader,  cast  "  forty- 
two  votes  for  her  illustrious  son."  Virginia,  "  rising  from 
the  grave  that  General  Grant  dug  for  her  at  Appomattox 
in  1865,"  came  with  twenty  votes  to  enlist  under  his  ban 
ner.  "  We  propose  next  autumn  '  to  move  on  the  enemy's 
works,'  "  its  spokesman  concluded.  And  so  the  roll  went 
on,  every  State  presenting  all  she  had  with  boundless  good 
will ;  and  then  the  president  announced  the  result : 

"  Gentlemen  of  the  convention,  the  roll  is  completed. 
You  have  six  hundred  and  fifty  votes,  and  you  have  given 
six  hundred  and  fifty  votes  for  Ulysses  S.  Grant." 

The  audience  again  arose  in  a  transport  of  harmonious 
enthusiasm,  and  cheered  themselves  hoarse,  while  the  new 
drop-curtain  in  the  rear  of  the  stage  was  uncovered,  pre- 

378  LIFE   OF   GRANT 

senting  a  fine  portrait  of  the  general,  supported  by  the 
Goddess  of  Liberty,  with  the  motto  above:  "  Match  him!" 

As  soon  as  the  convention  reached  a  measure  of  quiet, 
the  election  of  Vice- President  went  forward,  and  the  Hon. 
Schuyler  Colfax,  Speaker  of  the  House  of  Representatives, 
was  selected  to  be  the  second  on  the  ticket. 

Old  Jesse  Grant,  the  father  of  the  future  President,  was 
on  the  platform,  overwhelmed  by  the  enthusiasm  for  his